LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS... welcome to the big top blog of Douglas McPherson, author of CIRCUS MANIA, the book described by Gerry Cottle as "A passionate and up-to-date look at the circus and its people."

Monday, 29 December 2014

How to market a circus

The lights are on, the doors are closed and the show has begun...
but what lies in wait inside the big top?

If you read my previous post about Circus Fantasia, you might be thinking: yeah, nice lorries, nice ticket wagon, but what's the show like?

Unfortunately, the posters and flyers give us little idea of what to expect inside the big top. I doubt if their clown looks anything like the generic one on the poster, which gives us no idea what sort of acts they have. Definitely a case of you pays your money and takes your chance!

But shouldn't a circus poster do more to tempt us? Like showing us a must-see act, for example?

It was very different in the days of Bertram Mills, when the show that put the "Oh!" in Olympia would plaster a town with a whole range of posters - often one dedicated to each act and others that listed every act on the bill.

If you fancy treating yourself to a late Christmas present, The Posters of Bertram Mills by Steven B. Richley lets you flip through some of the greatest circus posters ever designed. And if you want insight into how a circus should be promoted, read The Advance Man by Jamie MacVicar. Click here to read my review.

There's a lot in both books that today's circuses could learn from. Because it doesn't matter how good a show may be if nobody rolls up to see it.

For more circus art, click here.

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