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29 August 2005


Jim Ninivaggi

I've now read Blue Ocean Strategy twice, and have come away with the belief that many of the examples used in the book are not truly "blue ocean" as defined by the authors.

The most glaring example of this is the Cirque du Soliel case study. They do not "create a new market" as the book describes, but rather creating a new, compelling product for an existing market.

Cirque du Soliel does not compete with the traditional circus. People who go to the circus I would put into a marketplace of "family entertainment". These are parents who take their families to things like the movies, arcades, Ice Capades, theme parks, family-themed theater (The Lion King on Broadway), etc. Cirque du Soliel is not a typical alternative for this marketplace -- and therefor building the entire case study on a side-by-side comparison of traditional circus vs. Cirque du Soliel was distracting beyond measure and had me wondering if the authors realized how they diluted their own concepts.

The marketplace Cirque du Soliel does compete in is what I'll call "adults who go out". These are adults who attend the movies, theater, cabaret, concert events, cultural exhibits, etc. Using the concept of "circus for adults" , Cirque du Soliel simply created a compelling and unique alternative to meet existing demand -- not create new demand. Simply put, a tourist to New York city might opt to attend Cirque du Soliel (if they are in town) over attending a Broadway show. Not true "blue ocean" as defined by the authors.

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