Saturday, 2 March 2013

Bond over loaded Product Placement ? Not on your Skyfall !

Bond over loaded with Product Placement ?

Not on your Skyfall !
One of the benefits of being a forty something is that you don't have to worry about being cool any more, but you aren't so old that you've forgotten what it's like to be young.  In fact as my oldest boy edges towards those potentially difficult teenage years, I am being reacquainted with youth culture without having to experience it all myself.   I must say, previous experience does have some intriguing advantages.
To the matter in hand today:  Skyfall.  With Brits and Oscars awarded for the first time in the franchises 50 year history, it is hard to have missed that even the film industry thinks this particular film is a cut above the previous 22 or 24.   So, I missed my family visit to see Bonds action adventure when everyone else did,  and instead waited for the DVD launch. (See 'confidently uncool' comments above)  Hence coming to the table rather late in the day, but hopefully with something interesting to say too. 
My interest was particularly piqued because several of the Royal Holloway Management with  marketing undergraduates chose "outraged" media coverage at the over commercialisation of the latest Bond movie, particularly concentrated on the product placement issue for an assignment earlier in the year.  The dramatic fall in commercial TV advertising revenues has seen UK TV regulations relaxed to allow ITV and others offer up opportunities for sponsorship.  Clearly for the media, product placement is a hot topic. 

"A pint of your usual Mr Bond ?"
All paths for me currently appear to involve beer. In Bond, of course the story was Heineken taking the place of James' regular tipple.  I was profoundly surprised, therefore, that Bond's beer guzzling moment didn't even let you have a good look at the label.  We all know that global brands of lager pretty much taste the same. You need to see the label to imbibe all the benefits of a beers brand personality.  Heineken surely don't think that a green glass bottle communicates its brand ?
Unlike recent films (packed with gratuitous shots of mobile phones and luxury cars) I entirely missed coverage of Bollinger, Omega, Swarovski, Sony and Virgin Atlantic, all sponsors listed in the credits.
Bollinger relies on beyond film marketing to establish its Bond credentials
I'm told the ultra tight fit Tom Ford suits are fashionable, although hardly sensible for an action hero.  Aston Martin were playing a long game, using a classic model from a previous Bond feature with a clever low tech twist, perhaps, because the next model isn't quite ready ?  In fact, the only two brands (aside from Brand Britain) that seemed to get the biggest plugs were VW Beetle, benefitting from a full, slow and deliberate brand name check, whilst being totalled by the second,  big hitter, a bold, yellow digger from CAT(erpillar).    

Screen product destruction: Good for awareness development ?
It is not quite apparent quite how VW's name check will help reposition the Mark III 'new' Beetle.  Perhaps in a loose sense of being cool enough to be featured in an overtly masculine Spy movie ? For the last decade and a half the new Beetle has developed a 'middle aged woman's car' imagine in the UK once the launch, halo, retro buzz effect had warn off.  Priced at a discount to the Golf power train it shares, most buyers saw it as very much a fun, but not very practical (cramped rear seats, tiny boot space) second car. The recently launched, third model is very much benefitting from an attempted VW marketing positioning sex change, with a flatter, slicker profile and a product range emphasising powerful engine options.  However, I shall be very surprised if the re-positioning initiative works out. 

Visit Britain, the UK's tourism body, in fact rightly decided to get on board as a sponsor, given the extensive and unusual use of British sets (Scotland, London, and London as Shanghai), forced by budget cuts when the holding company hit financial difficulties. 
Brilliant movie - but you know that already !!  Good hearabout, wanna see.