PT Barnum was a fascinating character, running “freak shows”, museums, and concert tours, and operating as an author and legislator/politician.
Apparently the phrase attached to him, “There's a sucker born every minute” is not necessarily something he
As shocking as it is to modern sensibilities, Barnum's early work in “Freak Show” exhibitions were masterworks of marketing and salesmanship. He marketed the ‘world’s oldest woman', allegedly over 160 years old, and then upon her death, sold tickets to her autopsy that revealed she was about 80 (and had not been George Washington's nurse as claimed).
Other “curiosities” he exhibited were the Fiji Mermaid, Tom Thumb, and Cheng and Eng, the conjoined twins.
He apparently believed that a hoax in advertising was perfectly acceptable if the customers got enjoyment/value for their money, but found actual fraud and deception to be reprehensible.
At one point, his museum would remain full for too long, which did not allow new paying customers to enter, so Barnum had a sign saying “This Way to the Egress”, which people assumed was some kind of creature or curiosity. They would go through a door which led outside, and would close and lock behind them, so they would have to buy another ticket to re-enter!
(Egress is a snazzy word for “Exit”; not sure if everybody knows that these days, but apparently they didn't back then at least!)
The little bit I know of PT Barnum calls to mind other, more modern and maybe less scrupulous “marketing schemes” that used to appear in comics. Things like X-Ray Specs and the infamous Sea Monkeys with those adorable cartoon ads that captured the imagination!
Does this kind of marketing razzle dazzle have any place in webcomics? Personally I don't think there's much of a place for it these days. But we have to get eyeballs on our stuff somehow! How do you draw people in to look at your work?
Banes at 12:00AM, May 3, 2018
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