James Bond Product Placement is Becoming Crass and Ridiculous

James Bond wearing Omega

Product placement has become the bane of moviegoers lives. Nowadays you’re never sure if what you’re seeing is the choice of the director, or of the producer or the marketing girl named Joan who’s managed to wangle a deal with Motorola to make sure that the movie star’s mobile phone is provided by the company.

Sadly, that’s how our world is nowadays. We’re supercapitalist in every way, even if it means compromising the quality of movies. And James Bond is no different.You might think that dapper, suave James Bond might wear a Rolex on his wrist. But he doesn’t: he wears an Omega. And in fact when asked about it in Casino Royale, he even corrects the idiot who dared insinuate that he’d wear a Rolex by saying that actually, he wears an Omega, thank you very much. And conveniently the long shots of poker games allow the perfect view of said watch (above).

007’s even conveniently popped the sleeve of his Tom Ford suit up a little so you can see the watch better on the big screen. Isn’t that nice of him? Oh, did we mention he’s wearing a Tom Ford suit? That’s right: he’s wearing a Tom Ford suit.

As well as Tom Ford sunglasses: TF-108 sunglasses, to be precise. Those were worn in Quantum of Solace, for those of you who think that being a spy is as easy as, you know, wearing the same clothes as another fictional spy.

James Bond

It gets worse though. Now Bond’s veering wildly off canon.You might think that there are four certainties in life – besides the standard birth, death and taxes, you could say that James Bond will always drink a vodka martini, shaken not stirred. Except you’d be wrong. He likes beer. Heineken. That’s got nothing to do with the fact that the company paid ?28m (that’s a third of the entire production costs of Skyfall). No, no no.

And M? Well M can only get by using a Sony Vaio laptop, darling. Any other inferior brand of personal computer and the spies she’s in control of die, dear.

Look, I sort of get why they’re doing it. Movies aren’t cheap to make, and ultimately we’re in a recession. British films – and the British film industry – is starved of cash at the minute. But that doesn’t mean that you should be making 2-hour long commercials for big brands. By all means take endorsements and incorporate them into the film, but do it gently and with compassion. Don’t change a major facet of a character (the vodka martini drinking) just because you have beer to sell. It’s wrong. It’s stupid. And people see through it.


  1. says

    I agree, as a producer and as a brand you don’t want your placement to be too blatant, obvious or “in your face”. But Bond has been a sales agent from the first movie and to see him drinking Heineken or wearing Omega watch is a bit different than to see it some other movie, e.g. Transformers.

    I think product placement is an essential part of Bond movies, like it or not.