Clowns are Bling Bling for the Circus

(I’m thinking of taking up the noble clowning trade…nah, never mind…cd)
Funny business: Clowns are becoming true stars of circus
Once mainly sideline acts, circuses now hope to boost their bottom lines with celebrity clowns
By Kelly Crow
The Wall Street Journal
When the circus came to town this summer, the Klutz family could hardly wait. They snagged front-row tickets and got to the Las Vegas arena an hour and a half early. Nine-year-old John was the most excited of all: He wore clown makeup and a foot-high orange rubber wig his mother had bought so he could look like his favorite character.
His big moment came when Bello Nock, the vertically coiffed star of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, walked by between acts. As the Klutz family whipped out their cameras, the clown patted the boy on the head. ”Nice hair, dude,” Nock said.
To boost the bottom line, circuses are turning to a new marketing tool: the celebrity clown. Under pressure from animal-rights groups and higher costs of maintaining large beasts, and facing competition from live-action shows based on cartoon characters, the $1.8 billion industry is trying to transform these once-nameless sideline acts into major brands. Multimillion-dollar ad campaigns are focused on clowns like Nock and ”Grandma,” of New York’s Big Apple Circus.
Salt Lake Tribune – Business