007 – Special Agent in Product Placement

With the upcoming release of the 23rd instalment of Ian Fleming’s creation James Bond, Skyfall is set to break all records when it comes to product placement funding. This won’t however come as a shock to most 007 fans, as over the years the James Bond franchise has been synonymous with shameless product placement.

Drink? Mr Bond

On this occasion this has made hardcore Bond fans a little disgruntled to say the least. This is because in Skyfall it seems product placement has directly affected our hero’s characteristics. If you asked even the smallest Bond fan what 007’s choice of beverage was you can bet they would know that he always goes for a  Martini with the famous line “shaken, not Stirred”. In James Bond’s latest outing his new choice of beverage is Beer, a Heineken to be exact. Not the kind of drink that projects the suave and sophistication that the James Bond character encapsulates but when a reported $45 million dollars is being offered then who cares right?

It’s nothing new

Another notable product placement which changed Bond’s character was his choice to change from his usual Aston Martin to a BMW in Tomorrow Never Dies. This again caused a bit of a furore with die hard Bond fans albeit for a short time as our hero reverts back a few years later in Die Another Day.

Gadgetman

James Bond is synonymous with gadgets with extreme technical enhancements ensuring a haven for product placement. One example being his Ericsson mobile phone which also acts as a remote control for his Car in Tomorrow Never Dies. Another is his Omega wristwatch in Casino Royale in which in one scene the brand actually gets a mention. Bond is also seen in the same movie with a Sony Vaio Laptop (image above). Obviously making sure the big “Vaio” logo on the case is facing the screen.

Bond is in good company

The James Bond franchise is not the only guilty party when it comes to product placement; it’s been going on for years. Other Famous films with blatant Product placements which stand out are:

Cast Away – This heavily featured Fed Ex the Delivery Company and Wilson the Volleyball which Tom Hanks befriends. He even names his imaginary friend (The Ball) Wilson!

Transformers – The movie adaptation of the popular cartoon featured a Chevrolet Camaro as the character Bumblebee even though in the original cartoon the character of the same name was actually a Volkswagen Beetle.

I Robot – This futuristic blockbuster movie starring Will Smith featured an extravagant car chase of which the star of the show was definitely the Audi. The film made sure the ringed logo was on show on numerous occasions. Admittedly the car did look pretty cool.

To summarise, with the demand for movies to constantly improve in all areas and deliver amazing special effects etc production costs are on the rise. Product placement is an easy way of generating funds as proven with the latest James Bond instalment, but surely this shouldn’t come at price which would be detriment to the film’s story or characters within it. What do you think?

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