CAMPAIGNS: Model Becks raises profile for Tussaud's - Guerrilla PR

Client: Madame Tussaud's
PR Team: Free Range Communications
Campaign: Becks on the plinth
Timescale: March - June
Budget: Material cost £2,000

On 23 March Madame Tussaud's launched an exhibition titled 'Goal', a tribute to the moment England qualified for the World Cup, when captain David Beckham scored a free-kick against Greece in October last year.

Leisure and consumer agency Free Range Communications works for Madame Tussaud's on an ongoing basis. This campaign was a perfectly-timed stunt that allowed the gallery to exploit a top news story and create a great photo opportunity.

The agency placed the waxwork Beckham on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square in the wake of England's victory over Argentina in the qualifying stages of the World Cup.

Objectives

To boost publicity for the 'Goal' exhibition and boost footfall to the museum.

Strategy and Plan

Just before Easter, a two-pronged media campaign was launched: the first part announced the forthcoming 'Goal' exhibition in association with the Football Association; and the second invited the media to attend the opening.

This was supported by marketing and ad activity.

However, the agency's watching brief was to look for further opportunities as the tournament progressed. The morning of 7 June - the date England played Argentina - provided an opportunity.

Free Range came up with the idea of placing Beckham's waxwork in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday. The client was enthusiastic about the idea.

The Greater London Authority was contacted for permission but could not give the go-ahead within the timeframe.

Nonetheless, agency and client decided to execute the plan anyway.

On 10 June the agency and technical people from Madame Tussaud's visited the site to work out the logistics. Only the Evening Standard and a PA photographer were informed.

The client provided its own cameraman to film footage for distribution to broadcasters.

On 11 June, 'Beckham' was transported to the site in a van and installed on the plinth by a cherry picker. Within minutes, a GLA patrol insisted the statue would have to be removed, and so the PR team complied.

However, many staff of nearby offices and shops, having heard about the Beckham plinth, descended on Trafalgar Square only to be disappointed to have missed 'Beckham'.

Members of the public lobbied the Standard and the Mayor's office to return the model to the plinth. Due to demand, permission was granted to reinstate the waxwork on 12 June.

Measurement and Evaluation

Media coverage was extensive, including the Standard and several nationals.

Twenty-five pieces of broadcast coverage were generated, 12 pieces of national newspaper coverage, plus regional coverage.

Results

Free Range's idea and execution of the Beckham stunt, combined with the reaction to it, resulted in a high-profile event that tapped into the mood of public celebration.

Statistics indicate the Goal exhibition has caused a 25 per cent increase in visitors to Madame Tussaud's.

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