Product placement: 007, licence to sell

Licence to sell: 007, product placement

Take away the Aston Martin, the Omega watches and the Dom Pérignon, and James Bond is little more than a hitman with a penchant for one liners. No Time to Die, the latest film in the Bond franchise, was released in UK cinemas this week. Stunts, suits and love interest were all present and correct. But there were a few new brand names among the old faithfuls.

Pay attention 007. The success and longevity of Ian Fleming’s character rests in part on the right soft goods and consumer durables. Putting the correct products into the frame means preferential deals for existing partners and steep prices for those that want to join the club.

Ford, owner at the time of Aston Martin, a marque traditionally preferred by Bond, reportedly paid $35m to have its car featured in 2002 film Die Another Day. BMW had usurped the role in the previous film. The deal proved fruitful. No Time to Die features four different Aston Martin models.

Bond’s biggest brands, product features, number of filmsCumulative appearances (selected products)

HMD, the Finnish owner of the Nokia mobile phone brand, is likely to have paid a similarly handsome fee for its handset to replace Bond’s Sony phone. A lingering close-up — and the reported effort to reshoot the film to update it with the latest model — will have been reflected in the price.

Advertising for products featured in a Bond movie contributes to the buzz around the release. It is more than usually important this goes well for No Time to Die, the first in a series of autumn blockbusters that the cinema industry hopes will restore pandemic-battered fortunes.

Not every brand pays to be part of the film. Some are included by props specialists simply to add lustre and authenticity. Equally, Apple reportedly disapproves of film-makers equipping movie baddies with iPhones.

For brands that make the cut, the return on investment can be impressive. There is a marked “Bond effect”, in which sales of products soar after a film is released. Swimwear maker Orlebar Brown experienced this after Daniel Craig wore its trunks in 2012’s Skyfall. A few years later, Orlebar Brown was acquired by Chanel.

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