The Elephants Left the Room

Photo Credit: Brian Ach, Getty Images for Ringling Bros.

The article here from USA Today has played on all the news channels.  Some might compare this to the demise of Sears Roebuck’s catalog sales.  There is a lot going on when cultural icons go out of business as quickly as these did. Check this out: USA Today Story

Relevance and public opinion.  That is the obvious culprit, right?

Nope.  The business cratered when the elephants left the room.  On a personal note, I remember going to see this when I was about 8 years old.  It was magical.  I took my kids to see this.  Somehow the question of animal rights never came up in our minds at the time.  It was the greatest show on earth.  Well, after this May, it will be no more.

The fact is that while animal protection groups railed against their use, the reason most people went to see the circus was to watch the amazing, trained elephants.

There is something profound to be learned here.  Let’s start with the obvious.  If Ringling Brothers knew that the seemingly noble act of taking the elephants out of the three rings and giving them a better life in a nature preserve was going to destroy their business so quickly, would they have done that?  Could they have found another way to make the special interest groups happy and therefore keep the elephants?

Or what about the obvious questions this raises for NASCAR, Pro Football, Soccer … and … wait for it … professional boxing?  And, where is the comparison to Cirque du Soleil?  Why is one persisting while the other is not?  Was it all about the elephants in the room?


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