September 29th, 2008

The Name's Sky, Ocean Sky: How Big Business Bought Up the New Bond Film

By Mark Hughes
The Independent

It has been billed as the Bond that will break with tradition. In Quantum of Solace Daniel Craig will not ask for his martini, “shaken, not stirred”, and won’t announce that he is “Bond, James Bond”.

But at least one 007 tradition is going strong: Quantum of Solace is expected to have more paid-for corporate product placements than other Bond movies before it.

When the film is released at the end of next month, cinema-goers will see Bond drive his customised Aston Martin wearing his Omega watch and possibly sipping from a bottle of Coca-Cola Zero. His laptop and mobile phone will be a Sony while even his love interest is in on the act – she’s drives him around the streets of Panama in a more female-friendly Ford Ka.

Although the film’s producers, Eon, are tight-lipped about exactly who pays what for the Bond endorsements the list of confirmed products to feature in the new film includes Heineken, Virgin Atlantic, Coca-Cola, Smirnoff, and of course, Ford, Omega, Sony and Aston Martin. But perhaps the biggest sponsorship deal is a new one involving a British private jet company, Ocean Sky. It lent five of its jets, which are valued at £100m, to Eon Productions, which were used to fly the cast and crew out to Panama for a week.

The company usually charges £5,000 per hour for the planes, putting the cost of the deal at around £600,000. In return Ocean Sky will feature eight times in the film.

The scenes will include interior and exterior shots of the planes and one will show a woman in full Ocean Sky uniform, made by the fashion designer Hugo Boss, behind an Ocean Sky-branded check–in desk.

The company’s owner, Kurosh Tehranchian, 45, said: “It was a major investment for us financially and in terms of plane usage but it is something we feel will be very worthwhile in terms of the exposure it gives us.

“The James Bond brand is unique. It is known worldwide, yet it is completely non-controversial: everyone likes it. It was something we felt we wanted to be associated with.”

Brand expert Andy Payne, the global creative director of Interbrand, says that the chance of having a product appear in a Bond film is one that companies positively jump at.

“Companies will fight for the rights to be a partner in a James Bond film and they’ll pay considerable amounts of money to get the contract. Bond is cool and has kudos and that status rubs off on the products that he is seen to endorse. For a company like Ocean Sky this could be a very good move because even though they have given up the use of five of their jets for a week, they will view the money they will have lost as a good investment in terms of the amount of global brand identification they will achieve and the worldwide audience they will reach.”

The number of placements in Quantum of Solace is expected to exceed even that of 2002’s Die Another Day, which featured so many products and brands that it was nicknamed Buy Another Day by critics. In that film, 20 companies are thought to have paid £44m to have their products shown on screen or to use the Bond brand in advertising. That amount fell to six companies paying an estimated £36m in 2006’s Casino Royale. Financial details of how much the companies have paid to appear in this year’s Bond film have not been revealed.

In one scene, Bond meets his love interest, Camille, played by Olga Kurylenko, who drives him around the streets of Panama in a Ford Ka. A spokeswoman for Ford said it had been approached by EON, shown the script, and asked to provide a car for the character. She said that Ford had paid for the placement, but would not confirm the amount.

The film’s producers will be keen to avoid the criticism levelled at the last film after one scene was panned for taking product placement too far. In a cringe-worthy exchange between Bond and his sexy sidekick Vesper Lynd, played by Eva Green, she glances admiringly at his watch and enquires: “Rolex?”. “No,” he replies. “Omega.”

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