'Bond 23' to Set All Time Product Placement Record

Monday, 02 May 2011 16:17 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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'Bond 23' to Set All Time Product Placement Record

The James Bond franchise has long been home to some blatant product placement, since the debonair superspy sporting any product automatically marks said product as the pinnacle of sexiness, class, and high-tech refinement.  While Casino Royale may have stripped down the plotting and style of the series, the Daniel Craig era is still one of pervasive plugging. Craig's next outing, the as-yet untitled Bond 23, will set an all-time product placement record, with 1/3 of the total budget coming from onscreen advertising.

According to The Australian (via @MorganSpurlock and Motion/Captured) Bond 23 co-financiers MGM and Sony have agreed to raise a whopping $45 million in product placement deals.  This is more than double the amount of previous record holder Minority Report, which propped up its production with $20 million from American Express, Lexus, and Bulgari.  While it certainly made a futuristic Lexus look cool, Steven Speilberg's sci fi film also subverted its would-be advertisers, depicting a future of horrifically pervasive and personal marketing.

Apparently, Sony is establishing a group of brand ambassadors to serve as intermediaries between the studio, the creative team, and the corporations paying for screen time.  For the first time in the franchise's long and storied history, "Chinese technology entrepreneurs" will rank among these sponsors, doing their part to ensure that the film, directed by Oscar winner Sam Mendes, dominates next year's Brandcameo Awards.

If Minority Report attempted to cleverly turn the tables on its own advertisers, then Bond, by contrast, can generally be counted on for a far more straightforward approach.  Everyone knows, of course, that Bond usually drives the latest, sexiest automotive phallus substitute from Aston Martin, but instances of product placement in Bond films have frequently been far more direct.  In the Australian article, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold director Morgan Spurlock points to a scene in Casino Royale as the most egregious example.  He reserves a "special place in Hell" for the dialogue exchange between Craig's Bond and Eva Green's Vesper Lynd, with Bond explicitly stating that he wears an Omega watch.

I see  Spurlock's point with that particular scene, but my personal favorite bit of Bond product placement comes from Pierce Brosnan's last effort as 007, Die Another Day.  After about a torturous year as a prisoner in North Korea, the world's foremost secret agent and poon-hound shaves off his grizzly-style detainee beard with the comfort and closeness of the rechargeable Norelco Spectra 8892XL James Bond Shaver System.

What's your favorite example of product placement from the James Bond franchise?

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