Public Relations Tactics

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Goes Hispanic

December 3, 2013

“The Greatest Show on Earth,” also known as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, is a 140-year-old brand and an American icon. On Oct. 27 at the PRSA International Conference, Stephen Payne, vice president of communications for Feld Entertainment, and Tina Elmowitz, partner and executive vice president of rbb Public Relations, discussed how their PR program brought the circus to a Hispanic audience in four key regions.

After warming the audience up with a circus clown and juggling act, the two explained how they wanted to reach the fastest-growing minority and meet the needs of the rise in the bilingual American family. The goal was to boost sales and build a passion for the circus in an accessible way for this demographic.The target audience was families in the largest Hispanic communities in the United States: New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami.

Research found that Hispanics were more engaged on social media — in fact, 75 percent actively use mobile devices. Also, 88 percent of Hispanics watch Spanish language TV. The media trends of this key audience focus on “family, language, heritage and culture, and emotional connections,” they said.

The campaign brought Taba, a Chilean tiger trainer, to the forefront to connect with people and tell a story behind the Ringling brand. Taba has a strong sense of family and is the first and only Hispanic animal trainer, which displayed achievement against all odds.

Their campaign received 201 million impressions, which was 90 percent penetration. And ticket sales increased by 6-10 percent in the top Hispanic markets.

Elmowitz and Payne found that Hispanics are more likely to eat dinner together and consume media together, and therefore enjoy life experiences together. “Leverage human interest stories and appeal to emotions,” they said. “But be careful of translations among different Spanish communities. Reach out to the community around too.” 


Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


No comments have been submitted yet.

Post a Comment

Editor’s Note: Please limit your comments to the specific post. We reserve the right to omit any response that is not related to the article or that may be considered objectionable.


To help us ensure that you are a real human, please type the total number of circles that appear in the following images in the box below.

(image of eight circles) + (image of nine circles) =



Digital Edition