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James Bond still drives an Aston Martin. But now he drinks Heineken too.

Sun, 08 Apr 2012

The Aston Martin DB5 returns in Skyfall (image ©Eon) - but Heineken replaces a Martini

James Bond may drive an Aston Martin, but he’s going a bit more downmarket in Skyfall after a £25 million deal to place Heineken.

Product placement is a great way for brands to raise their profile by association with a successful film, TV show or celeb. And much of what now gets placed on screen to push our buttons can probably be blamed on the James Bond franchise.

Perhaps the brand most synonymous with Bond is Aston Martin, despite the fact that Fleming’s Bond actually drove a Bentley. But clever product placement of the Aston Martin DB5 in the earliest Bond films has done Aston Martin more favours than anything else in the last fifty years.

In the latest Bond film Skyfall (which doesn’t sound like a proper Bond film title at all) Bond gets to make a fleeting revisit to his Aston Martin (film) ro0ts with the original silver DB5 being rolled out for a visit by Bond to his ancestral home in Glencoe (with the house itself recreated in Surrey). Apparently we even get a car chase with the DB5.

It also looks like Jaguar Land Rover have managed to get in on the Bond act (sensible Tata) with both the Jaguar XJ and Range Rover scheduled to make an appearance (and, unless we’re mistaken, the Range Rover Evoque will also appear in Skyfall).

Which is perfectly palatable, unlike Pierce Brosnan’s unfortunate use of a BMW 7 Series in Tomorrow Never Dies and, even worse, the 1.9 litre Z3 in Goldeneye.

That product placement by BMW came in for a heap of criticism (Bond in a Beemer? Sacrilige), but that misplaced automotive excursion is nothing compared to the lates bit of Bond product placement.

It seems that Bond is about to forego his Martini (shaken, not stirred) for a pint of Heineken. In a deal said to be worth £25 million to the Bond franchise, Bond is set to become a lager drinker in Skyfall.

The deal involves Skyfall director Sam Mendes turning up to direct a commercial for Heineken, but with Bond relying on up to 25 per cent of its budget from product placement it’s seen as a price worth paying. And it’s not as if Bond hasn’t gone this route a million times before.

As early as Goldfinger, Bond was big on product placement with Gillette prominently featured. Over the years deals have been done with Virgin Atlantic (with Richard Branson in a walk-on part), Perrier (Bond’s tank went through a Perrier truck), Omega, KFC (Felix Leiter’s favoured fast food in Moonraker), Marlborough, 7 Up and countless others.

The trouble is, none of those product placements affected the core of what Bond is, but taking away the Martini in favour of Heineken does – just like putting Bond in anything that’s not British (like a BMW). Maybe the world’s moved on and no one cares any more about what’s made Bond?

But at least James Bond still drives an Aston Martin.

By Cars UK