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November 18, 2006

James Bond: Licensed to Brand

casino-royale.pngI have been thrilled with the excellent press the new Bond movie, , is getting and also fascinated by the way this installment has handled product placement, going for quality, fidelity and exposure over sheer quantity of brand names.

An article from Forbes, "James Bond: Licensed to Sell," spells it out very nicely: brand placement allows studios to make bigger, brasher films, reach target spaces they normally cannot reach (supermarket shelves, computer stores) and is a DVR-proof way of "getting the message across and associating their name with an established franchise."

This is true in general of the $3.07 bil spent yearly on entertainment product placement but even more so in the case of Bond films. I agree with Jo Swift on Radical left who just published an excellent post entitled "My Name is Bond, James Bond, Brand Man" in which he reminds us that in the original novels of he was just as brand conscious as his latest on-screen incarnation.

daniel-craig.pngPart of Bond's appeal is that he is into some very cool brands, some we know (, ) and some we do not know but wish we did (Pinaud Elixir, Blanc de Blancs Brut, Norwegian Honey from Fortum’s, coffee from De Bry of Oxford Street) and some brand names we know only through him (, Smirnoff martinis — shaken, not stirred).

Laura Blum at AdFreak points out that Bollinger has experienced a surge in sales every time a Bond movie has come out over the last 27 years, and this year some newer Bond brands are hoping to feel a little giddy, too. Not least will be — SMS Text News says the move is "ALLLLLL about the K800." Sony's phones have been nicely blended into the movie, and used by both Bond himself and his new love interest, who gets a unique M600i.

will also be popping some bubby this year, as their brand name is getting some serious play — they even went so far as to invite some bloggers and journalists for a James Bond day recently. For the truly curious, there is a wonderful post up about James Bond’s beer (this year its ) on Brookston Beer Bulletin that fills you in on every drop the agent ever drank and some he didn't, including an ill fated "James Bond’s 007 Special Blend" malt liquor that is now long gone but featured pictures of the famous Bond girls on each can.

And despite some grumblings from people in our own industry I must agree with The Grundle: James Bond is “a myth, a legend, a conglomerate of everything that's cool about guys." And what do guys like? That’s easy, 007: girls, good booze, guns, fast cars and top end brands.

Well done, James old boy.

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Posted by William Lozito at November 18, 2006 1:58 PM
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In general I found the product placement throughout the film to be seamless and perfectly fitting. Sony nailed all of their placement — from the Ericsons to the Vaio to the memory stick — making them seem like cutting-edge technology, and sexy to boot.

The Ford placement though, I found glaring, and honestly it only evoked a negative comparison in my mind. When I was faced with the shot of him driving away in his Ford Mondeo, with the clear "Ford" brand on it, the only thought to spring to my mind was, "That's not a Bond car." Ford simply doesn't have the cachet to believably sell itself as a super spymobile, and seeing it degrades my opinion of their brand by having me compare them to their high-end brands — a comparison it is destined to come out unfavorably at the end of. I really think the company should have just stuck to its Aston Martin line throughout.

I have to say that I agree--the Aston brand would have been enough for Ford. Consumers are very picky and the person who is likely to buy a Mondeo is not likely to do it because he saw it in a Bond movie, whereas the Aston brand does get a little bump from the association.

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