Godzilla King of the Mosters: interview with Ota Keiji, Chief Godzilla Officer
L.I. Can you explain what are the most important value and appeal of Godzilla? What had been the key elements of the enduring success?
Ota Keiji: The popularity of the characters which has been established globally throughout its 64-year of history is, indeed, one of the biggest strengths of Godzilla. We believe that it was partially because every Godzilla film entailed an element of surprise.
We shouldn’t be afraid of changes and evolutions. Rather, these are the keys for a long-term success.
L.I. When did you start to develop the licensing program of Godzilla?
O.K.: In Japan, Toho has continued its license business since GODZILLA’s first film (1954). However, “Godzilla (2014)” was a turning point where Toho, as a company, started a cross-functional regular meeting for Godzilla called “Godzilla Strategic Conference.” This conference helps keep the brand message integrated in all Godzilla activities including the licensing field. In terms of international licensing activities, Toho started to handle the merchandising rights with Legendary starting 2018, and that is when we built the strategy.
L.I. What are your lines guides for developing your licensing strategy?
O.K.: We want everyone to love Godzilla. That is at the core of our entire activity.
Customized approach is necessary in each region and each age group, which we are trying to achieve by producing different audiovisual works. For example, the Godzilla Exhibition held in Taiwan this summer was one of the great success which we reached families and kids in addition to fans. The number of visitors was over 64,000 in 10 weeks. We would like the fans to stay tuned for our upcoming announcements.
L.I. What are the main product categories you are interested in?
O.K.: In addition to the categories which are usually covered for the entertainment and character licenses, such as Apparel, Toys, Stationery, Home Decors, we are also looking into the fields which customers could experience the world of Godzilla, such as theme Park Attractions and Exhibition Events.
L.I. What are the main markets for the licensing activities of your brand? What about your presence in the Italian market?
O.K.: With the strong awareness and a block buster films coming up in the next few years, we are eager to be active in all the markets.
Italy is one of the markets we strongly believe in the potentials – we are receiving positive feedbacks from our partners in Italy.