Advertising agency GOODZILLA needs no introduction. SHP+ has often featured their work in our ‘Ad of the Week’ selection. For the last 3 years almost every interesting or noticeable commercial in China has been created by this agency. In a short span of 6 years, GOODZILLA has seemed to appear out of nowhere and has become a synonym for the most prolific creativity in the Chinese advertising industry. Their ideas are distinctive, fresh and often unexpected. Because of this, SHP+ felt like we owed a long due visit to the owners of this groundbreaking agency. Walking into their quiet office, it was almost hard to believe that this was the epicenter of all this bustling creative energy. “That’s how you know, that coming up with ideas, and creative process is not entertaining, and painful at times”, comments Jiang Pan.
Xu Jiayi 许稼逸（left）& Jiang Pan 江畔（right）
Jiang Pan，the founder and CEO of GOODZILLA has only one other company on her resume—BBDO. Having worked in this 4A agency for nine years, Jiang Pan felt there wasn’t much space left for her to grow. At that point, when she left to found her own company in May 2014, the whole advertising environment was also changing. 4A agencies started to lose their undeniable allure, as online advertising was about to knock traditional TVC off its dominating pedestal.
Without putting on a show, exuding quiet charisma, Pan tells that she didn’t have wild entrepreneurial ambitions. It was a combination of her creative experience, desire to do things differently, the rise of internet companies, like Alibaba, and online advertising that brought GOODZILLA into existence. Some of Pan’s friends from the local advertising circles also went on to found their indie ad agencies, while others joined booming internet-based companies and became clients. Alibaba projects, which in 2015 made 70-80% of the agency’s orders, put GOODZILLA on the advertising map. Their adamant pursuit of creativity made their reputation.
When GOODZILLA just started, Jiang Pan’s partner Xu Jiayi came up with a description, that stayed with them until now: “We hope each of the works we do is like a precious stone, giving the flawless impression. Hope we can be like advertising craftsmen, who polish their creations”. The company has gradually grown from two people to a team of 25, but the growth is deliberately controlled to maintain a creativity-forward approach, 23 of the employees are creatives and only 2 accountants.
In China, you wouldn’t find another ad agency established by two creatives, two female creatives to be precise. Before partnering with Jiang Pan, Xu Jiayi accumulated 12-years of experience as a copywriter in agencies like Dentsu, Shanghai JWT, BBDO, and McCann. Being women in the advertising world is not the only thing that defines GOODZILLA’s story, but it also contributes to their difference. “Look at all these other agencies, established and run by men, like Tianyukong or SG. You can see their objective is to grow big, have offices everywhere, employ hundreds of people, and eventually nail the IPO. That’s the direction they are going”, says Pan. GOODZILLA is different. She continues that from a commercial point of view, she’s always said GOODZILLA wasn’t a successful company. Because appearing at the time of major shift in the market, they didn’t grow exponentially. “It seems we put all our focus on the work, and don’t have this objective to grow big. For now, it’s been like this, but I can’t guarantee, we’ll stay that way”, shares Pan.
Things are constantly changing in the Chinese advertising industry, and GOODZILLA is constantly adapting with it. More often known for their storytelling, Pan and Jiayi admit this genre is not the answer for every client or project finding that audiences sometimes become a little wary of stories. With clients battling the effects of pandemic and dealing with shrinking budgets, GOODZILLA has found that in last few months, clients are opting not to shoot videos, and are now more often tasking the agency to find other ways they can promote and engage the audience. Regardless whether it’s a commercial film, or another form of advertising strategy, GOODZILLA chooses its clients based on how resonating and creatively attractive the brief is. That’s more important than a brand name.
“It’s reflected in our name: we want the advertising that we do to be like a “good monster”. To have an impact, but be kind at heart. From the visual impression, or the discussed topics, like a “good monster” , we want the work that we do to be seen everywhere. We don’t want to play it safe or be obviously transparent. We hope our work has explosive power, and at the same time transmit good values”, shares Jiayi. We, at SHP+, hope GOODZILLA will prove that big commercial success doesn’t have to come at a cost of losing the “creativity-forward” thinking attitude.
More of GOODZILLA’s works On SHP+ :