21 May 2014 999 Views

“Godzilla” Viral Review

by Michael Lee

Godzilla Teaser image

Godzilla was pretty much on everybody’s most anticipated lists of 2014 -read our glowing review of the film here. The idea of bringing back one of film’s most iconic creatures after a 16 year absence since the disastrous 1998 film directed by Roland Emmerich, was a pretty big gamble. Not to mention that the film was to be directed by Gareth Edwards, who only had the indie hit Monsters under his belt.

However, Warner Bros was not going to let any of that get in their way, and with an excellent marketing strategy, a fun viral marketing campagin, and some ingenious marketing tie-ins, Godzilla turned out to be one the best films yet. Hit the jump to read the full review.

One of the best things about the Godzilla viral marketing was that the titular creature was shrouded in mystery. Even in the trailers and clips, audiences never saw Godzilla or any of the other kajiu beasts for long periods of time. Instead they were treated to the devastation of the monsters through their signature roars or destruction. Which is why the film worked on a marketing level.

One of the major problems The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had, aside from the narrative structure, was that the marketing had spilled out nearly all of the villains of the film, and while there was two major ones, having three in there, was two too many. The trailers for the film was basically one huge retread of any of the trailers that was already released. But Warner Bros had focused on giving Godzilla very limited screen time, instead they opted to show the shock and awe of the humans.

The first trailer, released back in December, currently has a total of 15 million views. A true definition of a teaser trailer, audiences really never got to see the beast in its full form. Not even the second trailer, which has 27 million views, gave the audiences a look at the beast from head to toe, but we did get a chance to see him roar before the screen went black. Viral trailers also helped take the total viewer count north of 60 million views on the official youtube page.

Strong trailer views from the domestic and international trailers proved to be a great tool. And because Warner Bros embraced the use of social media, fans around the world got to see how Godzilla has changed its 16 year absence. On Facebook, the official Godzilla page has 1.58 million followers, with 1.1 people talking about this. While those numbers change on a consistent basis, its rare to see the numbers so close to each other. And it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the PTAT was higher than the following count.

On Twitter, Godzilla has about 46.2K followers. By using the #demandtoknow on Twitter, followers were able to unlock an extended look and clues about Godzilla. Considering that this also tied into the viral websites, the use of the #demandtoknow hashtag increased exponentially.

Among those viral websites was the MutoResearch website. At first it started out as a conspiracy website trying to expose governments hiding away a nuclear atrocity. However over time, it changed into a government site centered on principle characters of the film. On the newly updated MutoResearch site, fans were given an opportunity to look at characters closer than they normally would. But being the government coverup faux website that it was, many of those documents were redacted, and the surveillance audio sounded like it was recorded from afar. But that was all a part of the spirit and the fun of marketing this film. It also put focus on the human characters of the film, as opposed to putting it on Godzilla, itself. Which actually proved to be of a huge benefit considering a large part of the film was about the humans.

Godzilla director Gareth Edwards

Now there are also other things to consider about the marketing of Godzilla. You may have seen the classic Godzilla just being one of the guys in the successful and hilarious Snickers commercial, or the current one eating up small compact cars, and regurgitating a fiat in the Fiat commercial. While these were marketing tie-in gags, they showed that Godzilla still has pop culture relevance in the world. Other tie-ins included a highly praised Godzilla prequel comic which was co-written by the film’s screenwriter Max Borenstein.

On an international basis, Godzilla’s marketing made its presence known with gags like the destruction in Toronto. Canada. Subway cars, automobiles, and other large vehicles were flipped, turned upside-down, or shredded, but it did bring about the idea that could this monster be real, this would probably be the result of its actions.

Of course there were also the contests to see the film early in any of the cities you live in or around. But those contests come with the territory. Still, they do drive up the demand to see the film, because honestly even if the participant doesn’t win, they will most likely go out to buy a ticket to see it anyway.

Comic-Con events like the panels and press conferences would help jumpstart the demand for Godzilla into high gear, despite not once showing the monster. Although Godzilla was teased at a fan event, but that was more of a concept image of the scaly beast. Again, Warner Brothers used the idea of limiting the audiences exposure to the monster in any shape or form to keep them guessing and wondering what Godzilla would look like. This deceptive tactic has proven to work time and time again, as the little we know about the film or its titular character the better.

Having not seen the film yet, I do believe that the strong box office showing, plus the great marketing proves that the film was a financial hit, and seeing what other films it has to go up against in the coming weeks, I can only see a healthy and slow decline until some of the bigger films come up.

Grade: A

Cranston Taylor Johnson Godzilla 630x250



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