As a diehard Bond fan, when Skyfall came out in theaters I was first in line to catch the midnight premier. As the film started, I was once again filled with the joy of seeing Bond hove into sight in a well fitted suit (courtesy of Tom Ford), driving a sleek Jaguar sports car, and drinking… a Heineken? What happened to “shaken not stirred”?!
Marketing and James Bond have gone hand in hand since the start of the franchise. Men want to be him, and women want him. Bond is the image of suave, stylish sophistication and many men believe that wearing the suit, driving the car and drinking the martini is an easy way to achieve that timeless look. However, in the new film, we see Bond skipping over his regular martini in favor of a cool crisp Heineken. This obvious and unusual image is not only out of the ordinary but, for many people, implies a sellout. Smith explores in his advertising article that “partnerships help pay for the cost of the movies” (Advertising 3) and I can only imagine how much Heineken must have shelled out to become the new preferred beverage of Bond. This for me is a huge hit to the ethos of the film. Its credibility and constituency have allowed them to develop a solid character and franchise over the last 40 years or so of filming and with this blatant switch in preferred drink, it makes me wonder what else this franchise is willing to change for the right price.
But that’s not all the new Skyfall gets me excited about: the cars. Cars, sports cars especially, are always a huge pathos and logos draw in the bond films. In Skyfall in particular, Bond drives a Jaguar XJ, the signature Aston Martin makes an appearance, and Land Rover features heavily throughout the film in a lot of the chase/action scenes. Cars are a huge pathos draw because they establish envy and create, as Lunsford explains in Everything’s an Argument, “quick and irresistible connections between audience and argument” (Lunsford 44). You feel envy towards Bond for the life he lives, and you realize that even if you can’t be a super spy, you can drive a Jaguar or an Aston Martin. The pathos argument has delivered you into the hands of the advertisers once again. However, cars can also be a logos draw. Its logical for audience members to associate the standing of the characters with the kind of car they drive. WE expect Bond to drive a Jag because it fits with this image logically. Can you imagine Bond in a SmartCar? Didn’t think so.
The final piece of the puzzle for Bond is his suit. Daniel Craig’s Bond get his suits tailored at Tom Ford for the low price of about $4000 a suit. While this is the least aggressive marketing in the film, it’s enough just to know that Bond wears Tom Ford to create that association without ever having to see the label in the film. As Lunsford states in Everything’s and Argument “the clothes people choose to wear can be an argument and make a statement” (Lunsford 44). Bond wears Omega watches and Tom Ford suits, so if you want to be like him, you can foot the bill and buy the clothes. This again falls under the envy and idolatry of pathos, and the logical connections between wealth and masculinity of logos.
So while Bond and his product placements will always go hand in hand, Skyfall does a fairly good job at keeping the mentions subtle and well placed, not distracting from the actual film, but giving all the products the positive press that comes along with being associated with James Bond. So with all that in consideration: I have to give Skyfall and its’ product placement 3 Heinekens out of 3. Cheers.