Lessons from Godzilla on standing the test of time.

By Amber Hudson and Luke Sklar

Last year we had a look at why Zombies clawed their way to the top of the monster popularity heap.  Now, on his 60th birthday, we set out to understand the appeal of the King Kaiju himself, Godzilla.

Godzilla first crawled his way out of the ocean back in 1954, in a country that was still reeling from the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  As the story goes, he was a monster mutated by nuclear radiation who smashes, thrashes and essentially devastates Japan.  He was a metaphor for nuclear weapons, destruction and for what happens when something gets behind our control.  Since then nearly 30 Godzilla movies have been made.

So why then has Godzilla endured for 60 years?

Psychologists will say it’s the tension between our base instinct to run away from the danger and the overwhelming desire to stay put to witness the carnage.

Others say it plays into nostalgia.  I mean, what kid hasn’t stomped around, knocking over towers of Lego or tramping sand castles?

We say Godzilla holds up because you know exactly what you’re going to get:  a clear brand promise – he shows up, he smashes stuff, he leaves; and consistent branded assets –  his gargantuan size, his iguana-slash-T-Rex appearance, and oh, that famous roar (listen to it here).  Sure, freshen it up with the latest special effects, in-demand actors, and an underlying love story.  But as long as Godzilla roars that roar and stomps a town to smithereens people will continue to hit the theatres in droves.

So, does your brand have that clear and consistent brand promise; the one thing that you are famous for?  You can have your updated packaging, line extensions, new creative.  But as long as underneath it all you stick to what you’re best known for they’ll keep coming back for more.