Nancy Mitchell has given Tussaud’s a strong, risque image, Harriet Green
Nancy Mitchell reads Hello! magazine for a living. As the marketing
manager of Madame Tussaud’s and a member of its prestigious Portraits
Committee, Mitchell rules on who’s hip enough to have their figure
fashioned in wax.
It’s not just a case of being famous. As Mitchell explains, big noses or
stumpy legs help: ‘They have to have a physical presence - like being
really short or having strong facial features.’
The unique characteristics that make an exceptional waxwork are
colourfully demonstrated in J. Walter Thompson’s first broadcast work
for Tussaud’s, which breaks in London cinemas this week (Campaign, 29
March). The 60-second film attaches the best-known characteristics of
famous people to candles, such as Pavarotti’s great girth - he is
depicted by a huge, round purple candle - and Marilyn Monroe’s famous
floaty white dress.
The ad, entitled ‘candle power’, is radically different from Tussaud’s
previous advertising. The new approach targets young British people, who
tend not be regular visitors.
Mitchell has allowed JWT to include cheeky references such as Hugh
Grant’s encounter with the Los Angeles prostitute, Divine Brown, by
showing a candle covered in pink kisses.
In 1987, Mitchell joined the Wellcome Foundation as a marketing analyst
and a year later switched to the cosmetics giant, Max Factor. After Max
Factor was taken over by Procter and Gamble in 1990, she helped launch
the Max Factor skincare range.
As well as spearheading Tussuad’s advertising, it’s also her job to
maximise PR coverage for celebrity unveilings. She was particularly
smitten by the scientist, Stephen Hawking: ‘He was amazing.’ And then
there was the David Copperfield and Claudia Schiffer unveiling: ‘It was
such a media circus. There I was standing in the middle of a celebrity
Despite this, Mitchell has kept her feet firmly on the ground. Maybe
that’s because she spends her entire day surrounded by celebrities -
albeit in wax.