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Madame Tussauds bets on digital, activations and content

Since we are very experiential, therefore, static communication does not justify what we are selling and moved away from static communication to more of digital, says Sabia Gulati, Head Sales and Marketing, Merlin Entertainment

Lured by the huge number of Indians pouring in at the Madame Tussauds wax museums to see their favourite Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities wax statues internationally, Merlin Entertainment, the parent company of Madame Tussauds, decided to launch its 23rd attraction in New Delhi last December. Since then, Madame Tussauds in Delhi has clocked over 90,000 visitors till now.

Sabia Gulati

Sabia Gulati, Head Sales and Marketing, Merlin Entertainments, said, “The whole idea behind bringing Madame Tussauds to India is that we see a lot of inflow of Indian tourists in our other global attractions like London, New York, Amsterdam and Indians have a craze for Bollywood. In fact, a lot of international interactions have launched dedicated Bollywood sections and we really thought that it’s about time that India needs to have its own Madame Tussauds.”

70% of the statues at the attraction are of Bollywood celebrities, the rest are of Hollywood and other known celebrities.

Mumbai is the centre point of the Bollywood industry, but Madame Tussauds still decided to start operations in India from New Delhi. Explaining the reason, Gulati said, “A lot of audience in Mumbai often get the opportunity to rub shoulders with a lot of stars and so we thought that Delhi is really the place where there is a lot of fan following and Bollywood influence. So we thought that we could bring the Delhi audience closer to what people in Mumbai are experiencing and the biggest benefit was also that Delhi is the capital of the country.”

More than 60-70% of the Madame Tussauds’ business comes from bookings done online and are pre-booked. The tickets cost Rs 960 for adults and Rs 760 for children.

The wax museum brand did a lot of traditional advertising when it was launched and then later shifted focus to experiential, social media marketing more and a little bit of SMS marketing here and there. The brand also does a lot of strategic tie-ups with bank cards in the form of additional benefits to the bank card holders. Because 60-70% visitors at Madame Tussauds are driven through digital, the brand spends 30% of its marketing budget on promotions through digital and the rest on activations.

Gulati said, “We launched with a presence on the traditional medium because it was a shout out about what we really are. Since we are very experiential, therefore, static communication does not justify what we are selling and moved away from static communication to more of digital. So we are creating a lot of video content, engaging content because we are selling experiences and we want people to experience our communication.”

Madame Tussauds target women as Gulati believes that they are the influencers of the family.

Apart from launching figures, the company also invests in cross-promotion activities and advertisements, ties up with other trade partners and business platforms.

Madame Tussauds was founded in the year 1835 by Marie Tussauds, who opened an attraction on Baker Street in London. Some of the sculptures by Marie still exist in the London attraction such as ‘Sleeping Beauty’ – a ‘breathing’ likeness of Louis XV’s sleeping mistress. Marie Tussauds remained actively involved in running the attraction almost until the end of her life. Her last work was a self-portrait she completed when she was 81, just eight years before her death in 1850. The year 2011 marked the completion of 250 years of the birth of Marie Tussauds who was born in 1761.

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