Written for Nerve Magazine
5 – Martini – Featured in… nearly every Bond film from Goldfinger
It’s weird to think that one of British cinema’s most iconic lines is product placement, but whenever you hear the word Martini, chances are your mind will follow it up with a quick “shaken, not stirred”.
Unlike some of the other examples on this list, this example of free publicity also featured in the original books written by Ian Fleming to highlight Bond’s rather blatant alcoholism – the 007 in the book’s drinks like eight students rolled into one – while the film’s turned the quote into a one-liner dripping with ice cold wit.
The company must have been happy either way, just wonder how many bottles of the Vermouth have been sold to people who want to drink like the world’s coolest fictional spy?
4. Aston Martin – Featured in Goldfinger and Casino Royale
Now pay attention please, as Aston Martin would like you to lust after their classic car for a lifetime. What adult would not want the British company’s elegant and gorgeous car, while would you know any child whose imagination didn’t run wild when they heard the word “ejector seat”. Q never joked about his work, but was he a gadget master or an Aston Martin salesman?
Goldfinger turned the Aston Martin DB5 into a myth, a car that everyone wanted and very few could afford, while Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale duly tipped it’s cap to the fan favourite stealth advertising when Bond gave the DB5 a quick spin.
3. Blu-Ray – Featued in Casino Royale
The involvement with Sony was obvious in the 21st Bond movie. While Casino Royale remains a fantastic film – taut, laced with genuine emotion and set pieces that dropped the ludicrous antics of previous Bond movies for that death defying parkour run – it could also be remembered as the world’s most expensive Sony show-reel.
Her Majesty’s finest agent only used products that bore the familiar Japanese logo, from the excessive close up on his phone, to the painfully hilarious attention paid to the fact that a security system used Blu-Ray players and discs. It wouldn’t have been surprising if Bond whipped out a catalogue halfway through to decide what Sony gadget he hadn’t used yet.
2. BMW / Ericsson Phone – Tomorrow Never Dies
Tomorrow Never Dies shouldn’t be your favourite James Bond film, but credit where credit’s due, it has an absolutely brilliant bit of product placement – a phrase that almost hurts to right. In the scene where Bond drives his car using his pretty fancy mobile, causing havoc to a European car park and generally being in typical Bond badass mode, we all get to pray that someday, maybe we’ll be able to drive a car with a phone.
While there is the obligatory close up and a few too many lingering shots on logos that almost undermine the action– those marketing dollars are certainly put to good use – it fits in with the action that feels unintrusive as possible. It’s a far cry from our next entry.
1. Omega – Featured in Casino Royale
One of the most intimate and telling moments in Casino Royale takes place on a sparsely populated train carriage. Bond and Vesper are meeting for the first time. They’re trying to figure each other out, probing and prodding to discover each other’s personality. It reveals the ruthless calculation that helps Bond survive and is an early indication that the couple have a few similarities.
Then, the very definition of hilariously awful product placement, when acting gives way to gratingly terrible marketing as Eva Green is forced to ask “Rolex?” in regards to the watch Bond is wearing. Craig, admirably beating back the blushes, replies “Omega”
It is a subtle as a Bond pick up line and just as unintentionally funny. Sure, it tarnishes one of the most emotionally important scenes between the film’s central couple but… You so totally want a Omega watch now, right?