Dan Naden

Cirque de Soleil: Emotional rides given daily.

Breathless. Awe-inspiring. Captivating. Amazing. Remarkable.

The adjectives can’t adequately describe the experience of Cirque De Soleil. This company has been successfully delivering thrills and inspiration for a number of years now. I’ve just entered their realm.

Entering the darkened theatre in Las Vegas, we marveled at the intricate stage design. Part exotic, part metallic, with sharp edges and platforms, this stage was ready to play tricks with the mind. How would this backdrop be a part of the show?

The subtle juxtaposition of light/dark, fast/slow of Cirque is legendary.

Actors playfully grunted and groaned as the audience got comfortable. From the moment we took our seats, we were transported to someplace special – far from the world we knew. It was the start of an escape that we knew would be like none other.

The imaginative wizardry behind Cirque de Soleil is rooted in human psychology. Play with our emotions and you have us in the palm of your hand.

Stages morphed from a barren landscape to the tallest mountain. Metal music with crushing guitars turned to a single, majestic flute bouncing a melody. One scene artfully introduced the next.

Two characters huddle around a spotlight and playfully build shadow creatures with their hands. These aren’t the simple dog and cat shadows that you learned in grade school. Rabbits, snakes, soaring eagles all take shape before the hushed theatre.

The most common phrase bouncing through my head during the performance:

“How did that happen? Did that just happen?”

Minutes later, muscular men and women, dressed in colorful tribal costumes are climbing a 90 degree wall structure. Amazingly, they seemingly risk their lives like this on a nightly basis.

A hamster wheel appears, seemingly out of nowhere, and two unbelievably athletic men put their lives at risk with each spin of the wheel. Every eye in the theatre was transfixed at the drama.

My heart dropped to the floor. Again.

So what can you as a marketer, business owner learn from this spectacle?

You can’t shoot for the big win every time. You want to go in for the sale right now, but timing is everything. Build us up gently, slowly by weaving stories that pull, push and even make us feel a little uncomfortable.

If every Cirque de Soleil was a cliffhanger, the bone-chilling fear would subside. The highest of highs would start to seem strangely commonplace. By going from big to small, Cirque takes us on a thrill ride that brings us back down to earth briefly before sending us back to the stratosphere.

Think the slow, methodical hill climb on a roller coaster prior to the epic surge down a steep hill.

Audience goers have just a few seconds to loosen the grip on their seats before the actors and actresses do something that causes your jaw to drop.

It was an experience that I can’t wait to see again. If you haven’t seen a show, plan on it, you’ll go away inspired. Marketers: take your customers on an emotional ride and you’ll keep them interested.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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