Cirque du Soleil bends over backwards for Gen Z’s love

Cirque du Soleil has a Gen Z problem

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The Future. Battered by the pandemic and having to file for bankruptcy in 2020, Cirque du Soleil wants to be more than a series of live shows — it wants to be an all-encompassing brand that Gen Z finds cool. With the average Cirque attendee being 42-years-old (and aging), Cirque sees this as an existential moment for the company. But if the push for cultural ubiquity makes the brand seem too kitschy or try-hard, it may actually cause Cirque du Soleil to lose its luster with its core audience.

A bigger tent
The world’s most famous circus company hopes to “hack popularity” to become relevant with Gen Z.

  • That involves changing the equation of making 80% of its revenue from live shows and 20% from… well… everything else.
  • To do so, the brand is releasing a video game (dropping today), a documentary series (amazingly titled Down to Clown), brand partnerships (Motorola), a fragrance, a line of furniture, and a Comic-Con-like convention.
  • The hope is to show Gen Z that Cirque du Soleil already embodies things Gen Z is into: “campy outfits, kitschy makeup, and feats of athletic daring.”

To pull this strategy off, Cirque du Soleil tapped a “cultural analysts” firm named Cultique, which believes Gen Z just isn’t making the connection between what they love and what’s already apparent in Cirque — giving off the vibe of “over-the-top performance.” The firm’s “Soleil Strategy” wants to turn the circus into something that could be selected for a Met Gala theme.

Or in other words, “there’s a real opportunity to elevate the art of clowning.”


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