Brand focus: The Spartan Way


Ever get that feeling where you just want to shout after receiving same sales call or scream when you are at the gym? When you are late for an appointment and you are in a public space and all you want to do is just start running, but something is stopping you. People are watching, what if a fall, they will think I am mad. It builds… then suddenly the it gives way. You run, you run like never before, engage survival mode.

We all suppress that animal instinct. Humans were engineered to roam the land, hunt for food after all. But we are stuck behind desks, we sit in traffic and buy our food in boxes. Enter Spartan Race

Obstacle course racing has burst onto the global scene and Spartan is leading the way. Founded in 2010 Spartan Race has seen phenomenal growth and by 2015 it had 1 million global participants in 120 events across 20 countries. Obstacle course racing challenges teams and individuals to compete over a set distance. Participants need to climb over walls, leopard crawl through sand or jump over fire.

The Spartan brand has become instantly recognizable through an aggressive gritty approach. Messaging is strong and direct. Call to actions challenge the readers. “Test yourself”. Do you have what it takes to become a Spartan? They are throwing the challenge at you the viewer. Balance this with admiration and motivation and you have a perfect recipe to get people interested and take action. They often use quotes, “I have to get better every day and that is the goal?” The perception is created that the quotes are from participants themselves (and they might be) making them feel honest and true. Testimonies of their efforts and interaction with the movement.

Below is the Spartan Mission extracted from “Your Spartan Way of Life” Ebook



We believe in changing your frame of reference and transforming your life.
Spartans laugh in the face of failure and continue forward.
We welcome challenges and embrace discomfort.
Be active. Be curious. Be human.
We are unbreakable.
We are strong.
We are Spartan.

Notice the repetitive use of the word “We”. Enforcing the sense of comradery and belonging. The Spartan brand has become a movement. A tribe anyone can join if you put in the work.

Visual brand elements are almost cliché. They remind of computer game graphics. Think Doom or Age of Empires.

The brand mark is an warrior helmet a testimony to the Sparta warrior society of ancient Greece. It symbolises strength, courage and spirit. This is combined with grungy texture gives you a hint to the roughness of the events. The mud, blood, sweet and tears. This is amplified by an intense red. Red is strength, it is energy, it is primitive and survival of the fittest. As an uninformed viewer you would most likely make the conclusion that this has something to do with a tough battle.

The race wordmark is done in a heavy typeface. It is impactful and reads easily making application across different mediums effective. This is in line with the strong aggressive brand messaging. The brand typography is not great, stereotypical, distressed and grungy. That said it does achieve its intended aim of landing a message and drawing attention.

The true brand essence shines through the imagery. The brand not only showcase athletes that look as if they just walked into the coliseum but real people. Real people with real emotions. This makes the brand and its events aspirational to a wide audience.

Have a look at this promotional video and feel how they master the art of getting your blood flowing. Waking that animal instinct that lurks within us all. Also note the use of imagery showing the scale of the events, the camaraderie and the appeal of becoming part of the Spartan family.

Spartan has built a brand that people can believe in. Focusing on self-worth and a gratification. They are not selling you an entry to a one day experience but a lifestyle. Through workouts, nutritional advice and communities anyone can join. A platform where you are encouraged to jump, run and scream.

They call it the Spartan Way

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