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
To create awareness of the original Godzilla movies, and let consumers
know that they were available to buy on video.
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
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.
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
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
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