Introducing “Dark and Creepy” to the City That Never Sleeps
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum has long been a favorite attraction in London and throughout Europe, but most Americans view wax museums as “dark and creepy” and “a dusty setting from a Vincent Price movie.” So when The Tussauds Group decided to open a $50 million, 85,000 square foot interactive museum in the heart of Times Square, an aggressive public relations campaign was needed to educate the American public about the museum’s legacy and artistry, generate positive buzz and impactful coverage to position Tussauds as the premier attraction to visit in New York.
To accomplish our initial objective, we approached The New York Times to secure advance coverage. By doing so, we would establish Madame Tussauds as a major new attraction in Times Square and ensure an unqualified endorsement from the country’s most influential newspaper. We received not one but two NYT cover stories. The first was timed to a press conference held outside Madame Tussauds featuring then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and the unveiling of his wax portrait announcing the museum’s imminent opening; the second ran one month prior to the official grand opening. We then selectively pursued additional coverage prior to the opening. A four-page spread in People Magazine helped to fuel media interest and position the attraction and launch party as a must-cover event. Over a period of several years we generated a billion domestic and international media impressions ranging from coverage on CNN, The Today Show, 20/20, Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood to network evening news programs and every single television station in New York and top markets nationwide. Our extensive print coverage included In Style, Travel & Leisure, leading fashion and travel magazines, as well as daily and weekly publications in the U.S. The international coverage ranged from the BBC, RAI, Reuters and the International Herald stories in newspapers worldwide.
Instant legitimacy and a build-up of excitement and awareness. MTNY quickly became one of the top ten attractions in New York City, exceeding The Tussauds Group’s expectations. The agency delivered an unparalleled level of media impressions, driving up brand awareness from 8% domestically to over 60% in year one. Illustrating the impact of PR and its ability to influence popular culture, Madame Tussauds has been referenced by news programs and popular talk show hosts like Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.