Tonight (Oct 23) is the London premiere of MGM’s latest feature-length advertisement, Skyfall. With a budget propped up considerably by some of the world’s leading brands, how will this affect our perception of the franchise?
James Bond is a pretty cool guy. Not many characters in film history have so seamlessly blended ruthless psychopath with such twinkle-eyed charm. His scrupulous beverage specificity, quick fire one liners and endless canon of gadgetry taps into the child-like hopes of every man who still imagines he could be a spy. If only we had that Rolex.
Jerry Seinfeld has mused that all men think of themselves as low-level superheroes in their own environment; “When men are growing up and they’re reading about Batman, Spider-man, Superman… these aren’t fantasies, these are options”. And perhaps it’s this same mentality, this same suspension of disbelief that has each and every one of us buying into the cool that orbits the life of James Bond. As we watch, our own lives evaporate by comparison, and we drive away from the cinema (in our company sponsored Smart Car) feeling that little bit deflated. Asking what have I become? Where am I heading? And who am I?
Luckily Omega, Aston Martin and Sony (among an exhaustive list of others) have kindly agreed to help us with these crises. Littered throughout each minute of every Bond film are a vast array of items that will greatly improve your chances of being the best Bond you can be. So integral are these objects to Bond’s cool, they’re almost impossible to ignore. Of course, you’re not intended to ignore them, as the inclusion of these brands makes up a record breaking one third of the film’s $150US million budget. The most notable newcomer to the promo club has James Bond switch from his signature martini to Heineken. The deal, which requires Daniel Craig’s character to drink the beer in just one scene, set Heineken back a reported $45US million. This has caused an uproar among purists who consider the martini to be a defining staple of the series. But for most, we’re willing to forgive, even cheer on the product placement as we settle in to that big subliminal game of corporate eye-spy.
And perhaps the fact that companies are willing to invest so much in one man’s image only reinforces the idea that James Bond is still someone worth aspiring to become. And why not buy that Rolex after all? Hell, you only live twice.
By Chester Travis