There’s guerilla marketing, and then there’s Godzilla marketing.
As part of a massive promotional push for this weekend’s opening of would-be summer blockbuster Godzilla, Warner Bros. has created an apocalyptic scene that looks like a path of destruction created by the iconic movie monster.
The downtown Toronto installation includes a wrecked subway car, a flattened New York taxi and a crashed plane on the roof of a building, while a wall mural by Canadian mural artist William Lazos lends additional authenticity to the scene by creating the illusion of a cracked and fire-scorched building.
The scene was created by Juxta Productions, a Toronto-based entertainment marketing agency whose previous promotional work has included a recreation of Dumbledore’s office for the 2009 release of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
Juxta has also created campaigns for traditional brand advertisers including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Cadbury, but president Patrick Little said that Godzilla provided an irresistible monster challenge for the 17-year-old company.
“He or she is the monster of monsters, so we thought it would be a fun project to do something over the top and a little bit campy,” Little told Marketing. “It’s been part of a lot of people’s life story, so people have a soft spot for Godzilla.”
Conceived by Little and Victoria Gormley, Warner Bros.’ director of publicity and promotion, theatrical marketing, over a grilled cheese sandwich at historic Toronto diner The Senator, the installation at the intersection of Yonge and Elm streets in downtown Toronto took about six weeks from conception to its completion.
The installation uses an actual subway car that was cut in half and transported to Picture Vehicle Specialties, which then cut it in such a way so that it would appear as though it were embedded in the ground.
Warner Bros. has also commissioned a behind-the-scenes video chronicling the creation of the installation that will be distributed across its website and various social media channels beginning Friday.
Perhaps even more daunting than the threat of a giant fire-breathing lizard is the beer-imbibing young men being drawn to the installation. “Security is a challenge,” said Little. “Some lads are trying to climb it at night and do all sorts of jocular things. We know that’s good – they’re just being over-stimulated.”