The series of James Bond films has brought about a large number of opportunities for mutual advertising. The huge amount of gadgets, cars, and what are known today as ‘lifestyle’ accessories make the films a haven for modern day boy racers and escapists. By advertising a movie along with a featured product, the companies involved will benefit from an increase in sales due to the crossing over into different audiences. For example, the Matrix films were hugely successful, and as such, the Nokia mobile phones that were featured in the first film of the trilogy were also massively popular. For the second and third installments, marketers realized the potential and advertised the Samsung phones from the film using characters and visual effects from the Matrix.
It is possible to see how films can influence the general public’s shopping preferences by looking at the recent Kill Bill Volume 1 film. The main character, played by Uma Thurman, was seen to be wearing Asics trainers, a brand relatively unknown in the UK. However, since the release of the film, the popularity of the brand has grown largely, even without the use of mutual advertising.
The Role of Marketing in Creating Cinema Audiences
Generally, Marketing refers to the activities associated with identifying the wants and needs of a target market of customers, and then the job of satisfying those customers better than the competitors. This will involve market research – to discover the audience to aim at, or the wants and needs of the audience at which you are aiming – and then deciding on promotion, distribution and advertising.
A precise definition of marketing is:
‘Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives.’
Marketing plays a massive role in the creation of cinema audiences. The large number of elements that make the overall film, mean that James Bond films are popular with many different types of audience. The way that the film is marketed before its release, as well as the products that are shown in relation to the film, will decide which audience type will hold the majority share of viewers.
Broadcasting Policy in Creating Cinema Audiences
In recent times, there has been an increase in the emphasis placed upon the gadgets used in the Bond films. Before they had been used almost as a source of comic relief – ridiculous hand-held weapons that could flatten a small country, or a watch smarter than most computers – but now they are closer to real-life gadgets, whilst still being able to induce a feeling of awe in the audience.
Similarly, the budget of many audience members is now closer to a James Bond lifestyle than ever before. When the series began, the idea of owning a Bond-approved Aston Martin would have been no more than a pipe-dream for the vast majority of the population. However now-a-days, with people having a much larger amount of throwaway income, the reality of owner one of Bond’s recent modes of transport (BMWs and Jaguars have now been added to his repertoire) is now a possibility for some.
Adverts have not been slow in latching on to this; many jewelers fill their window space with Omega boards declaring it to be ‘James Bond’s choice’, bestowing the jet-setting, womanizing lifestyle on anyone who wishes to buy one. Jaguar adverts shown around the time of release for Bond films have shown scenes from the film coupled with narrative claiming that the car can do what the film shows.
Exhibition Practices and Audience Reception
This way of presenting the James Bond product will have a great effect on the audience that it draws at the box office. The adverts showing explosions will attract a primarily young, male audience, whereas shots of James Bond himself; a handsome, charming and mysterious gentleman; will attract a female audience. Despite these seemingly disparate audience draws, the reputation of the series is still as a family film – perfect for sitting down to on Boxing Day.
In a way, James Bond films cannot lose! It is the most successful film franchise in history, having taken over $8 billion in over 40 years. Just before its release, Die Another Die was said to be ‘guaranteed to have a stellar opening weekend’ by Gitesh Pandya, editor at BoxOfficeGuru.com.
The reputation that it has built up over its many years of existence mean that almost everybody brought up in the UK will be familiar with the formula of the films. As such little advertising is needed. People will already know what the film’s theme will be, that there will be explosions, fast cars and faster women, and that the film will be of a decent quality.
Therefore, the task that advertisers have to fulfill, is to push the products featured in the films.
The first ‘Bond car’ was the Aston Martin DB5. The car had not been released until the first Bond film was being shot, so was largely unknown. However when the car was featured in the Goldfinger film, and was matched with the star quality of Sean Connery and Honor Blackman, it became the most famous car in the world.
Ford Motor Company (the owner of the Jaguar and Aston Martin brands) reportedly paid $35 million to ensure it was their cars and not BMWs that were favoured by Bond in Die Another Day. Bond himself drives the Aston Martin Vanquish V12 – worth $230,000 – whilst his female sidekick drives a Ford Thunderbird, a special edition limited to 700, and the first vehicle to ever wear a ‘007’ logo – on the dashboard.
Bond’s watch in the film is another limited edition tie-in; the James Bond Seamaster watch from Omega. Robert Emmons, president of Omega claims that the association with the James Bond films has a ‘remarkable impact on the sales of Omega watches’. He adds that ‘people respond to Bond and want to own something that he has’. Omega also advertise directly to the Bond fans. When purchasing a ticket, fans are given information about Omega, the Bond film, a trivia challenge and a chance to win one of 007’s watches.
Also, for those fans who don’t quite have the means to match the $2,195 price tag for an Omega watch, Swatch released a collection of 20 Bond themed watches priced from $50 upwards. There is also a carrying case available that will hold all 20 watches.
Female fans can also buy into their own little piece of the Bond action with makeup kits inspired by the film franchise. Revlon Cosmetics released kits with the look of characters from the latest film, as well as some inspired by four past films; From Russia With Love, Diamonds are Forever, The Spy Who Loved Me and Goldeneye.
The tie-in spreads as far as Bond’s favourite drink; the famous vodka martini. No longer is it Smirnoff that Bond prefers – it has no passed onto Finlandia. Scot Reid, global marketing director for Finlandia, stated that the brand were ‘honoured and thrilled to be part of Bond’. The secret of the perfect Bond martini can be found on the Finlandia web site, where you can also enter the perfect martini sweepstakes.
These tie-ins are worth millions of dollars, and don’t even include Bond merchandise, video games, books and the videos and DVDs.
Sean Connery recently turned down $1.4 million to be the face of the new Skoda advertising campaign – a small sum to pay for James Bond.
The advertising campaign for the latest James Bond video game – ‘Everything or Nothing’ – has cost ½2.5 million.
Tie-ins for James Bond’s gadgets and cars is no surprise; the image that he gives off is one that many a viewer would want to mimic. If owning a Omega watch or driving an Aston Martin makes you feel a little like James Bond, then advertisers will milk this for everything that they can. But this doesn’t explain all of the products that feature James Bond in their adverts. For Die Another Day, MGM (the production company behind Bond) enlisted 20 marketing partners, who contribute at least $100 million in promotional support.
These brands include Norelco, who make Bond’s choice of shaver, and claim that their product is featured in a ‘very pivotal scene’. Commercials for the product announce it to be ‘James Bond’s razor choice’. The brand also offer customers a free DVD featuring scenes from all Bond films.
These product tie-ins don’t also seem too obvious though. Even brands that don’t feature in the films have the Bond seal of approval. Drinks company 7Up placed 007 logos on several million cans as part of an advertising campaign around the release of Die Another Day. Even Visa credit cards use the James Bond image in adverts in an attempt to make their product seem more exciting.
It is not difficult to see why brands consider films to be such a good place to advertise their goods. Films can reach millions of people and will be viewed for years after their release. They can also help a brand to discover a new area of customers that would previously have been unaware of the product. This is apparent in James Bond films in particular.
Many of the products involved in James Bond tie-ins have an established consumer base, but the association with the Bond franchise increases this much farther. For example, Omega watches and Aston Martin cars can be seen as very middle-class and middle-aged boy’s toys. But because of their placement in Bond films, they instantly become more popular to the young boy-racers who watch the films for the explosions and gadgets. Likewise, middle aged women who watch the film for the attractive actor playing Bond will be attracted to the make-up and outfits worn by the Bond girls; products usually marketed for younger consumers.
Whilst $35 million may appear to be a lot of money to spend simply to ensure that it is your cars used in a film and not a competitors, when you consider the coverage the cars will receive, it is a relatively small price.
Product tie-ins, whilst being the biggest example of corporate back-scratching that there is, are beneficial to all concerned. For films such as James Bond, the extra revenue that they receive from product sponsorship means that they can spend more on the special effects. The brands also benefit by reaching new audiences, and also exposing new customers to their product.
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