Madame Tussauds shows that, just sometimes, the old dog doesn’t need a new trick …
18th February 2013

Madame Tussauds shows that, just sometimes, the old dog doesn’t need a new trick …

Or “when you find a formula, keep working it”.

The Madame Tussauds PR team has created some of my favourite pieces of PR of all time. Their Johnny Wilkinson stunt during the 1996 Rugby World Cup is one of the best pieces of cunning stuntery that I can remember.

So it was with some joy that last week I noted that, amongst the wallpaper PR campaigns of Valentine’s Day, it was a Tussauds campaign that really stood out and has got people (at least around my way), talking.

For those who missed it, there is a distinct lack of video, but I did dig this out from YouTube that illustrates the story well enough …

What struck me was that Madame Tussauds has done something that many of us in PR find really hard: they’ve found a formula and they’ve resisted the notion that they should reinvent it.

Rather, they’ve got a groove and they concentrate on making it work every time they roll it out – with a tweak here and there to maintain relevance, key into the zeitgeist and keep things fresh.

In this case, they’ve picked a perfect moment – coming up with some smart for Valentine’s (which I always get the impression the media want to write about in a positive and feelgood way but struggle with down to the purest lack of interesting content).

But they also happened to alight upon a stunt using a man who has himself been in the headlines – with a star-role at the BAFTAS during the same week – while was at the same time not over-exposed (or doing any media in particular at all really). At that point, a waxwork of Clooney was going to work for a media who knew their readers were keen for a piece of the man – even if it was a particularly wooden performance.

So many PRs will try and reinvent the wheel time and again – often because it needs a rethink, sometimes simply for the sake of it. Madame Tussauds, on the other hand, has found a way to come up with a seemingly endlessly inventive take on the same old schtick. And that is no bad thing. “If it ain’t broke …” has never been better applied.

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