Barnum’s Egress

Phineas Taylor Barnum was the infamous 19th Century showman and one deceptive bastard… Barnum is being credited for some of the most famous sayings in advertising. The most heard is “There’s a sucker born every minute”. And though it comes from an incredibal story about his Cardiff Giant, it was banker David Hannum who said this sentence to Barnum. No one remembers Hannum but Barnums creative mind made that sentence his.

Barnum’s American Museum was so popular that people would spend the entire day there. This cut into profits, as the museum would be too full to squeeze another person in. In classic Barnum style, old P.T. put up signs that said “This Way to the Egress.” People who saw the sign were intruiged. Wasn’t that a tropical bird or some fancy machine they have read about?

Many customers followed the signs, not realizing that Egress was a fancy word for “Exit.” They kept on looking for this strange new attraction, the “Egress”, and followed the signs right out the door! Once they had exited the building, the door would lock behind them, and if they wanted to get back in, they had to pay another admission charge!

Modern museums make sure that the last thing you see before you exit is the gift shop.

Why can this be any help for your business or attraction?

Well, when you have an attraction that attracts large crowds it’s pretty obvious.

Pushing is much harder than pulling. It’s easy to attract people with something fancy. But asking/ demanding people to keep moving and get the hell out of there will never work. So if you want people to move away from you, something to pull them away from you is the best way to achieve that. Create your own Egress. If, for instance, you own a very busy restaurant, and you see that many people like your place so much that they stay at their table longer than you want, long after they had they dinner, telling them to get out and make room for new, paying, customers will only result in people who never come back. So…. you can give them an egress. You could hand out coupons for free icecream for the kids, or get them into a playing area where the parents can drink their coffee or have their dessert.

If you own a themepark and you notice that at some places in your park people stop moving and therefore cause ‘traffic jams’, then the most stupid thing to do is start commanding them to keep moving. You can have interesting sounds and music come from a certain direction. Or if it’s a square you can hang up signs like ‘this way to adventure’, ‘this way to fairytales’ or ‘this way to our highest and fastest rollercoaster’. Pulling them toward whatever at wherever, as long as they get away from that place.

So instead of this in the middle of the square

hang out signs at the sides right next to, or above, the pathways that lead to whatever.

Whatever you use as egress, make sure it’s in the direction you want them to go. No pushing, just pulling.

An amazing playground for the kids, just outside the resaurant.

A special dessert and beverages bar next to the restaurant, with tv and/ or some good music.

Or a relaxing garden where you can drink your coffee after your lunch.

Whatever business you are in: always have your egress!

If only this illusionist had an egress to save this situation!!!!

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