A competition has seamlessly morphed the Finland’s two unlikely addictions – social media and earth diggers – into the country’s ‘must watch’ event of the year. Over the past two months they’ve been watching three men – down from the original field of six –living, eating and sleeping in earth diggers scattered around different shopping centres.
The goal of these pale skinned Nordic ‘athletes’ is to be the last man sitting and win the Takeuchi mini-excavator – which comes with a 32,000€ price tag and a top speed of 4 km / hour – that they’ve been living in.
The rules of the competition are simple: first, competitors are allowed only 30 minutes a day out of the earth digger, to use the bathroom. Second, competitors must constantly stream live video from their digger and interact with their online audience.
“It’s quite strange – in a cool sort of way – to become famous just for sitting in an earth digger,” said 18-year-old contestant Arto Kojonen. “My family and friends are really supporting me. Plus being online constantly, I’ve made a lot of new friends so I don’t feel lonely.”
“I’m having lots of fun doing this – and it’s a great way to meet women. When I win, I’m going to have Finland’s best ever party with my friends.”
The runaway success of the competition follows last summer’s Finnish earth-digging media sensation. Then 26-year-old Jukka Mutanen captured the country’s hearts and headlines with his 4km / hour dash across Finland behind the wheel of his beloved mini-excavator. Jukka – who isn’t taking part in the current competition – also broadcast his four-week, 1,000km odyssey live.
“It’s additional proof – if more were needed – of the ability of the Finns to entwine their bizarre love of earth moving equipment with the latest trend in social media,” said Hans Eriksson, Executive Chairman of Bambuser, the company behind the free technology allowing the competition to be broadcast live onto the web.
“But when you remember that Finland is the home of endurance sauna contests, these strange obsessions seem somehow entirely natural.”
Check up on how the contestants are doing here.