5. January 2015 05:39
Here's an article you may have missed - about the James Bond Brand and whether the 21st Bond film, "Casino Royale," would still be relevant in Great Britain in the 21st century. What is interesting about reading it now, is that nearly ten years after this reinvention of Bond, we can see a slow but steady movement back to the more traditional formula of 007 films. Skyfall, reintroduced, 'Q', Miss Moneypenny and a male 'M'. For Spectre we also have a returning director and there have been rumors that it will contain a little more humor than Craig's previous outings. If they move the gunbarrel sequence back to the start of the film, perhaps the circle will be complete...
BRAND MOT JAMES BOND
Consumers have been watching James Bond for 43 years and it’s the most successful film series in history (2002’s Die Another Day took almost $430m (£243m) in ticket sales). Next year, Casino Royale will hit the screens featuring critically-acclaimed actor Daniel Craig as the new Bond. Oscar-nominated screenwriter Paul Haggis is also working on the film, which promises more character and is based on the first Ian Fleming novel. But are viewers still interested in Her Majesty’s secret servant? The franchise has recently been criticised for its abundance of product placement and for some, Bond’s time has run out. Joanna Doonar asks whether the 21st film will still be relevant in the 21st century.
Carl Lumbard is MD Europe of Twentieth Century Fox licensing and merchandising. He works on brands including The Simpsons and Ice Age 2:
James Bond is still very strong because of its heritage and the way it balances the essence of the brand. It stays true to the book character, but adapts to consumer trends and lifestyles. There’s still the mystique of being British and sophisticated, and there's a level of security with Bond that consumers buy into.
Bond has been very good at selecting the right actor for the period. It successfully changed ‘M’ to a woman, yet never moved away from the consumer view of what Bond should be. It had a masculine, champagne-swilling Roger Moore in the 1980s. With Pierce Brosnan, Bond became the 'new man' and there’s more action now.
The product placement in Die Another Day was quite blatant - with the cars, for example - but it didn’t detract from the overall message.
Bond has been strategic in licensing. It isn’t too mass-marketand shouldn’t sell low-end gifting. Spin-off products should be technologically advanced and leading edge. The merchandisers’ attributes must mirror and marry the Bond film. It’s not a kid’s property so it can’t have a wide range of licenses, price points and retail outlets.
Baba Shetty is managing director of Fallon Interactive. He was previously director of marketing communications at BMW:
The Bond films are overdue for another reinvention - the whole franchise has come perilously close to self-parody. Today's audience can tell whether the filmmakers are really passionate.
Hopefully, the producers will focus on a making a great film, delve deeper into the psychology of Bond, take the action more seriously and give it back an edge.
As for marketing partnerships, a lot has changed since I worked with BMW on the first Pierce Brosnan film. But Bond remains an internationally recognised icon, reaching across generations, and the closest thing the film industry has to 'a sure thing'.
The studio should dial way back on product placement and think about getting marketing partners involved in other content forms and extensions. Consider the Fox 'mobisodes' for 24 showing on mobiles, think broadband delivery or video podcasting.
There’s a lot of opportunity and some terrific assets to work with, such as music. You could easily envision a fresh, cool marketing programme that doesn’t necessarily involve James Bond taking a swig of Mountain Dew.
Robert Mitchell is chief analyst at Screen International magazine:
Bond is still popular; the figures have gone up consistently and look at the media frenzy surrounding the new Bond.
Bond has always been very much of its time. Originally there were Cold War connotations, while Die Another Day was about global warming. The Bond character has also moved with the times and actors have brought their own interpretations of Bond, adding to its longevity.
There has been a lot of product placement on the Brosnan films but films such as I. Robot are far guiltier of cynical product placement. If the stories are good enough, people don’t notice.
Bond can’t stray too far - the last film was the most successful ever. But it has always been good at changing and going a step further. New blood is always popular and going back to an Ian Fleming novel is great. Daniel Craig is a very established actor. It seems the new Bond film is trying to marry pop culture with a critical element. It has an Oscar-nominated writer too, so perhaps it wants to be more than an action movie.
It would be virtually impossible to saturate Bond. It’s an incredibly well-known brand and probably the most enduring franchise around.
Luke Harris is a film extra. He has worked on Harry Potter and Batman Begins:
James Bond is a tired concept kept alive by cameos from the likes of Madonna and Bond girls such as Halle Berry. The last few films have been stuck in a rut. The old films each had a different feel.
Bond is very commercialised and the films are one long advert. Bond still sells a lot of products and bars still hold James Bond nights, but people are realising it's a bit corny and it’s had its day.
Bond is also morally reprehensible. It allows stereotypes. There’s abuse of alcohol and disregard for human life. Many films are misogynistic, although surprisingly, Halle Berry is happy to be a bit of totty in the film. You can question the behaviour that’s passed off as sexy and sophisticated.
But Bond still appeals to everyone. Men want to be him; women want to sleep with him. It’s flogging a dead horse but it's a real cash cow. Bond might change because Daniel Craig is a respected actor. He’s also the right age to sell vodka and fast cars, so I think the casting is partly based on advertising.
In terms of products, computer games suit the Bond audience but too much spin-off merchandise will cheapen the brand, turning sponsors off.
The James Bond franchise was unable to comment. However, a press release was issued by the producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli (EON Productions), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Wilson and Broccoli said: "Daniel [Craig] is a superb actor who has all the qualities needed to bring a contemporary edge to the role. Casino Royale will have all the action, suspense and espionage that our audiences have come to expect from us, but nevertheless takes the franchise in a new and exciting direction."
Amy Pascal, chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, said: "James Bond is a household name recognised in virtually every corner of the globe and because of this renown, the casting of the new 007 takes on a special importance. We believe that in Daniel Craig we have found the ideal 21st century Bond."
Dan Taylor, president of MGM, predicted the film would "be the biggest, best Bond ever".
[Source: Brand Strategy. November 2005, Issue 197, p10-11. Copyright © 2005 Centaur Communications. All rights reserved.]