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Brand Love for Bond Franchise Continues to Endure


Daniel Craig in No Time To Die

Daniel Craig in No Time To Die

Daniel Craig in No Time To Die

Imagine walking into your local pub and there, sitting quietly at a table on his own, is Daniel Craig. Looking all Bond-like in his monkey suit, the slightly trippy Glory Box by Portishead is playing in the background. As he reflects on the shenanigans he got up to the night before, ponders the imminent danger that will almost certainly follow once he walks out the door and maybe contemplates his retirement from the job, he pours a bottle of Heineken into a glass, takes a sip, and pauses. With that Bond-like glint in his eye, he tells us it’s “well worth the wait.”

After 18 long months of constant hype and cancellation after cancellation, No Time to Die had better be worth the wait. And not just for cinema buffs and Bond fans but also for the commercial collaborators, like Heineken, who have coughed up serious money to have their brands aligned with 007 or have supplied product to offset some of the costs incurred in its production.

For a movie that is estimated to have cost in excess of $250m (€213.3m), product placement and other commercial arrangements, however, offset only a small percentage of total costs but are, nonetheless, an important part of the overall financial equation.

In the history of cinema, no other movie franchise has managed to attract so much interest from marketers keen to promote their brands than James Bond. When it comes to product placement and brand alignments, the MI6 operative and his handlers have written the definitive playbook.

For Heineken, it has been a long wait. But this is not the beer brand’s first association with the franchise, nor its first campaign for No Time to Die, which will finally be released next week.

Back in January 2020, it rolled out a much bigger and far more expensive campaign only for it to be put on ice in March as the full extent of the global pandemic began to unfold.

Heineken’s relationship with the Bond franchise goes back to Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) when during the famous motorbike chase in Saigon, Bond used a parked truck that was carrying cases of Heineken as a ramp.

By the time Skyfall came around, however, Heineken’s relationship with the fictional lothario was a lot more meaningful than all his other dalliances put together. To demonstrate its commitment, the Dutch brewer is reported to have invested a staggering $45m in product placement and other marketing-related initiatives and the beer soon moved from being a mere background prop to becoming a drink of choice for Bond.

But his once-favoured tipple of martini hasn’t been retired just yet. The Diageo-owned Smirnoff has also aligned itself commercially with the franchise. In its latest TV campaign, which is called ‘There’s a Spy in Everyone’, we are introduced to Samantha whose drink of choice is a Smirnoff vodka martini, shaken not stirred.

Heineken and Smirnoff, of course are not the only brands to have aligned themselves with the Bond franchise. DHL,the official logistics partner, has also released an action-packed ad which shows one of its drivers trying to deliver a package to the special agent during a car chase.

Elsewhere, Land Rover Defender has a campaign running at the moment highlighting its 007 connections. Not to be outdone by Land Rover, Aston Martin, the car brand most associated with Bond also gets in on the action with cameos for several of its marques including the iconic DB5, which made its debut in Goldfinger (1964) as well as the V8 and the electric Valhalla which is a steal at just €680,000.

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Brand watchers will also spot many other well-known brands in No Time to Die. In keeping with his dapper appearance, Bond can be seen wearing a wide range of men’s clothing and footwear brands like Barbour, Tom Ford, Connolly, Massimo Alba, Rogue Territory and Drakes. And, of course, no Bond ensemble would be complete without several pairs of Vuarnet sunglasses and an Omega watch.

While Daniel Craig may be making his last appearance as James Bond, one thing is certain: brands look set to continue their support of the special agent as long as he is licensed to thrill. With the franchise only celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2022, there’s still plenty of life in the old dog yet.

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