Tesco celebrates at Madame Tussauds

Retail giant's dairy division parties in London

Client: Tesco
Event: Celebration
Group size: 320
Agency: Merlin Events
Date: 4 December 2008
Venue: Madame Tussauds, London
Budget: £52,000

The brief: Tesco assistant buyer (dairy) Chiara Nesbitt says the requirement for its Christmas party was a venue to accommodate more than 300 delegates from the supermarket's dairy division for a memorable celebration.

Challenges: The party had to be elaborate and include as many extra features as possible. Also, the client did not actually set a budget when it began working on the event, but wanted the final cost to come to no more than around £150 per head, including catering.

Solution: The need for memorable entertainment was overcome by sourcing lookalikes, magicians, a caricaturist and more from external suppliers to ensure guests were fully entertained throughout the whole evening. The catering was organised by Dish, as recommended by the team at Merlin Events.

Execution: Guests arrived for the party through the Spirit of London ride (a mini tour of the capital while sitting in a London Black Taxi) from 7pm. They were greeted by mock paparazzi and 'papped' as they came out of the lift and into the reception area. Here they could take a seat in the mock Big Brother Diary Room and chat to Big Brother.

Lookalikes and a caricaturist circulated while guests mingled. As the reception area filled up, guests were encouraged to walk through the rest of the attraction. They ended up at the main hall for dinner at 8pm. Guests were seated to a seating plan, and drinks were replenished regularly as part of the pre-booked drinks package. Following dinner, a DJ played until midnight.

Verdict: "This really was the most fantastic party that I and the other guests had attended," says Nesbitt. "There are still guests praising the party four months on, and quote it as being the best party they had ever been to. "In previous years and at different venues, we have actually paid for an external events team and I have never been satisfied with their planning."

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