Friday 23 October 2009 3.53pm
Frankly, that these businesses operate in Southwark is one thing but the way they drum up business is in my opinion questionable.
Firstly, I doubt that a mock execution by guillotine is the first thing we want visitors in Southwark to see. I think few people will disagree with me when I say that the animations are generally noisy and tacky. They probably do not present our Borough in the most favorable light to say the least…
Secondly, it must also be said that some of the staff touting their wares can be quite persistent, sometimes on the verge of being pushy. It's my personal experience speaking here. That's why I think many passersby avoid the actors, not out of fear but simply because they can't be bothered to listen to the same sales pitch again and again.
When you think of it, what the London Dungeon
is doing is quite extraordinary. Imagine the chaos that would arise if all the shops along Borough High Street
or Tooley Street
decided to adopt the same aggressive marketing technique.
Finally, I also wonder how effective these actions really are? I do not recall any mock guillotine at the entrance of Madame Tussaud, yet it seems to be doing quite well as a business. I sincerely believe that these animations are a cost to our community in terms of noise, nuisances and disruptions. But the question remains: how many people does their staff actually persuade to join on a whim the long queues at the entrance of their premises? After all, if the benefits to our Bourough outweigh the costs, why not?
Yet, I believe that there are actually only very few people who jump out of boredom into the Tube, randomly exit at London Bridge (of all stations) and suddenly realize thanks to the antics of a few students in garish clothes and with fake blood, that they could have an enjoyable time in one of Southwark horror houses. On the contrary, I think most of the visitors if not all came to visit the London Dungeon
on purpose. This means that all these animations actually bring nothing and are a net loss to the area.
I understand that the London Dungeon
was there 20 years ago and that these animations may have been justified then. Yet, 20 years is a long time and the area has changed dramatically in the meantime. The London Dungeon
is well established. Maybe now would be a good time to change marketing strategy.