CAMPAIGNS: Polygram has a monster hit - Product Launch

Created in Japan in the 1950s, the original Godzilla is a dark allegory about the destruction of Japanese cities by atomic bombs, resulting in the awakening of the eponymous monster. The series of films made in the decades following have become cult classics.

Created in Japan in the 1950s, the original Godzilla is a dark

allegory about the destruction of Japanese cities by atomic bombs,

resulting in the awakening of the eponymous monster. The series of films

made in the decades following have become cult classics.



In 1990, Polygram Filmed Entertainment bought the rights to seven of the

22 Godzilla films. This year it decided to issue all seven movies -

using its low budget video label 4 Front Video - on to the retail video

market, coinciding with the release of Columbia-Tristar’s 1990s update

of Godzilla.



Objectives



To create awareness of the original Godzilla movies, and let consumers

know that they were available to buy on video.



Tactics



Talk Loud was briefed to target two groups for this campaign: 18- to

35-year-old men, particularly students who are into cult films and

people who may remember the originals, and eight- to 13-year-old boys

who were introduced to the films for the first time.



The media relations element of the campaign focused on securing reviews

of and features about the re-released movies. The team targeted youth

programmes and publications, light entertainment programmes and the

men’s consumer press, as well as science fiction and movie magazines.

Inquiries revealed that all of the targeted journalists were aware of

the imminent release of the Hollywood version of Godzilla, and 80 per

cent were aware of the original films. Therefore without much prompting

from Talk Loud, many articles featured a comparison between the two.



Rather than focusing on the environmental message of the original

Godzilla films, the team pushed the cult aspect, and so had the unusual

PR task of highlighting what some would consider the less positive

aspects of the product - dodgy special effects, bad dubbing and kitsch

costumes.



To create a ’buzz factor’, a replica Godzilla suit was commissioned,

available for stunts on national television, in-store appearances and

used in a photocall at Marble Arch in London.



Competitions and promotions to win videos made up the final element of

the campaign. The aim with these was to gain interaction with the target

market, and to build awareness of the new-look packaging.



Results



The original Godzilla story was particularly a big hit with men’s

magazines, receiving coverage and fond reminiscences in FHM, Loaded and

Maxim, as well as magazines aimed at film buffs such as Empire, Premiere

and Neon.



Several national newspapers also picked up on the story, with coverage

ranging from the Daily Star to the Daily Telegraph.



A highlight of the broadcast coverage was the involvement in BBC 2’s

’Monster Night’, when clips from the films were used in a documentary

about Godzilla. The costume made appearances on Blue Peter and the Jack

Docherty Show among others.



The team noted that all the articles which compared the new Godzilla

film to the originals were unanimous that the cult film series was more

enjoyable.



Verdict



This campaign hit the right note in encouraging the fun, irreverent tone

of much of the coverage. Its timing was obviously crucial, exploiting

the huge amount of publicity garnered by the big-budgeted cinema-release

of the new, Hollywood Godzilla.



This PR campaign had a direct impact on the sales force, as they were

able to show retailers some of the coverage, helping them push the case

for stocking the videos.



Client: 4 Front Video

Campaign: Re-release of original Godzilla films

PR Team: Talk Loud PR

Timescale: May to July 1998

Budget: pounds 6,000



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