Heineken- shaken, not stirred

As big fans of 007 we’re excited about the new Bond movie, Skyfall, which arrives here in October. Saturated in bloody violence, it’s also dripping in brands, potentially taking product placement to an all time high.

Needless to say, the deadly gentleman in question has always been synonymous with high end items. Even the original Ian Flemming books boasted references to a luxury company or two, meaning it’s no surprise 2012’s installment sports logos and emblems aplenty. But how far is too far when it comes to selling in (and out)?

Some £28million has been generated as a result of paid for references in Skyfall. This time round Aston Martin is back in the scene(s) as one of the biggest sponsors- with the quintessentially British car manufacturer splashed all over that 61-second trailer released earlier this month. Fair enough; there’s no denying James Bond has always had a penchant for England’s finest vehicles.

The inclusion of Heineken, on the other hand, arguably stands out more than an awkward 30-second close up of Pierce Brosnan checking his Omega. After all, lager is hardly the most commonly drunk beverage amongst the rich and (usually) incredulous. Not that we don’t enjoy an ice cold serving of Holland’s biggest-selling beer. Nor do we have a problem with the brand’s use of social media.

A recent video campaign circulating online morphs from a Skyfall tie-in ad for the Dutch company, into a Facebook game which puts the user at the heart of the action (licensed to kill no less). Impressive stuff, there’s no denying real innovation and serious investment has gone into the concept, both of which are likely to pay off, irrespective of the film’s reception.

As for the placements on celluloid, as with PR it’s clear having your company thrust in front of millions without resorting to traditional advertising can be worth its weight in gold. According to some statistics, 75% of commercials are ‘skipped’ by consumers, either by turning the page, leaving the room, or simply focusing their attention elsewhere. In short, guaranteeing eyes on the screen, whilst a brand is too, can’t be bad for business.

Since the ban on British broadcasters using product placement within domestic productions was lifted last year this practice has been slowly growing in the UK. (See: C4’s Sunday Brunch Kenwood tie-in, UKTV’s first ever partnership, and XBox Kinect’s Sky deal). As such it’s certainly something we’re becoming more used to seeing, and can work well for the firms involved. The same isn’t always true of our enjoyment of the storyline though, so here’s hoping they’ve still saved at least a few minutes for the real action.

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