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Godzilla Attacks Honda for Cameo Spot in Ad

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author photo by Autotrader February 2011

Honda Motor Co. is being sued for its use of Godzilla in a commercial for their Odyssey minivans.

Japanese Film company Toho Co. Ltd. owns the rights to the Godzilla franchise and are bringing Honda to court for infringing on their trademark. You can spot the mutated monster during a shot of the Odyssey’s optional split screen rear TV. The four-second cameo, Toho says, was never authorized and infringes on their intellectual property.

The commercial is part of Honda’s advertising campaign that aims to give their van a cooler, younger edge, no small task in the soccer mom dominated segment.

This is actually not Honda’s first time facing an intellectual property complaint from Toho Industries. In 1991, Honda settled a suit after it used Godzilla in a Rose Parade float. It was never disclosed how much Honda paid in the settlement.

Godzilla made his first debut in 1954 and since then, Toho has gone through great lengths to preserve the integrity of its franchise.

Lawsuits over the Godzilla image are nothing particularly new. In 2002, Toho’s legal team set their sights on a Napa vineyard for their wine ‘Cabzilla’ and its label that shows the monster holding a glass of red wine. The vineyard was ordered to pour out any remaining bottles of the Cabernet. Years later, Toho released their own officially licensed cab to be sold in Japan.

No business is too small. Last year, the owners of Grill Zilla, a seasonal take-out BBQ restaurant in Damariscotta, Maine, were contacted by Toho’s lawyers with regard to their name and a logo, characterizing a cartoon lizard monster eating a sausage.

Toho is also targeting Rubin Postaer & Associates, the marketing firm responsible for the Odyssey commercial, for their part in the advertisement.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Godzilla Attacks Honda for Cameo Spot in Ad - Autotrader