James Bond: The Man with the Golden Brand

With James Bond movie Skyfall opening in Australia in a fortnight’s time, Colin Delaney celebrates the brand marketing bonanza that accompanies the franchise.

‘Dangerously sophisticated’ may not be the most obvious way to describe a man’s fragrance, but when attached to the brand that is James Bond, it’s somehow acceptable.

Riding James Bond’s Tom Ford-designed coat tails into Skyfall, are numerous products cashing in on the most famous secret agent’s personal statement through product placement, brand alignment and some hefty PR. Here’s the top ten:

Arguably the biggest contradiction in Bond’s tastes is Heineken’s buy in. Rumoured to be a £30-45m deal, a fifth of the film’s budget, the Dutch beer company has usurped Bond’s Martini with a global campaign.

Remember Vesper Lynd’s sighting of the Omega in Casino Royal? It was blatant but forgivable after the Bond Girl and James’ tight psycho-analytical back-and-forth on the train. Well Omega returns – the Seamaster Planet Ocean is back on board.

While Daniel Graig doesn’t make an appearance in this ad for Coke, a chap on a scooter gets the girl to the tune of the famous theme.

And if it’s okay for Mother, its okay for the mother country. After Bond escorted the Queen to the Olympics, Tourism body VisitBritain wants you to visit what James and his secret service is protecting.

As mentioned, according to men’s magazine GQ, the James Bond 007 Fragrance is “the most dangerously sophisticated fragrance in the world”.

From Proctor and Gamble, the ad could be worse. It could be this.

And as celebrated as the Bond girls, so too are his gadgets. Sony made sure it was Bond’s trinket du jour for Skyfall. The company has a branding exercise with Daniel Craig…

…as well as an aspirational ad without Craig for the Sony Xperia T phone, which also makes an appearance in the film.

While no commercial campaign is running, any sartorialist worth his cravat would know designer Tom Ford is dressing Bond. And for those so inclined, you can buy the cut off the rack.

Bond returned to British engineering in Casino Royale with the Aston Martin DBS and stayed with it in Quantum of Solace. In Skyfall he goes classic with the DB5, garaged since Goldfinger. The PR around the brand has been fantastic as car enthusiasts look back at the brand throughout the years and director Sam Mendes sings the model’s praises in a Skyfall vignette.

But one brand has been with Bond for all 50 years. MI6’s weapon of choice and Bond’s standard issue side arm – despite the odd use of a bazuka – is the Walther PPK. More reliable than a smashed Aston Martin, it is so immersed in Bond culture that it washes over us, perhaps also because we’re not in the market for an easily concealed firearm. Whether the company has ever paid to appear in the films is unclear but it did cash in on the Bond name when US manufacturer Smith & Wesson released the limited edition Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service model with MI6 logo. And in Skyfall, it certainly receives great PR from the new Q, who describes his adapted model as ‘less of a random killing machine, more of a personal statement’.

And that is what every brand is seeking when they attach themselves to James Bond, a personal statement – of intelligence, sophistication, confidence, danger, intrigue, and a penchant for good looking things that make you feel nice.


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