CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; The human face of Tussaud’s

Nancy Mitchell has given Tussaud’s a strong, risque image, Harriet Green says

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.