Cirque du Soleil’s Alma Derricks: Marketing From ‘Angel’ To ‘Zarkana’

By Tim Moran, Editor in Chief,

If you’ve ever been to Las Vegas, chances are you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil show. Eight are currently being staged there, with 20 more running in cities around North America or on tour. “Mystère,” “O,” “Zarkana,” “Criss Angel: Believe,” and “Love” are just a few of the names you might recognize-or have seen.

Though the concept and brand have been around for some 30 years, it’s only recently that Cirque has taken marketing seriously-or has had to. After its recent acquisition by financial powerhouse TPG, the new-wave circus hired Alma Derricks as VP of sales and marketing, Resident Shows Division. Derricks has been around the media and entertainment block and more during her storied career at HBO, Paramount, Deloitte, and others, and she has brought her powers to bear now on Cirque.

In this exclusive interview, we find out just how she ended up joining the circus and what it takes to market a brand for which upside down and inside out is normal. And did we mention she has 25,000 seats a night to sell? So how does a nice marketer like you end up running away with the circus?

Derricks: I’ve been in media and entertainment my entire career, so I’ve done the rounds through different industries. My original interest when I was a teenager was in broadcast journalism. By the time I finished college, I knew I wanted to stay in media, but I decided I really didn’t want to chase the on-air part, so I ended up in media buying, then post-production, and then went to business school. I was also an NBC Fellow at Georgetown.

Read more here.