Product placement, or embedded marketing, is a form of advertisement, where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, music videos, the story line of television shows, or news programs. Traditionally the product placement is not disclosed at the time that the good or service is featured.
Have you ever watched a television show or a movie and felt like you were watching a really long commercial? If so, then you've been the victim of bad product placement. There's certainly a line that can be crossed when presenting brand-name items as props within the context of a movie, television show, or music video. Clever marketing folks try never to cross that line. They want their products to be visible within a scene, but not the focus. The product needs to fit, almost seamlessly (almost being the key word here) into the shot and context of the scene. When done correctly, product placement can add a sense of realism to a movie or television show that something like a can simply marked "soda" cannot.
Brand placement in Bond movies isn’t new—you could even say it’s as integral to Bond as his cherished vodka martinis. And some of the placements have been incidental. After all, Fleming himself dropped a few brand names including Cartier in the books, for which he presumably didn’t receive a penny.
Aston Martin and Omega watches are the brands most associated with James Bond.
Since his first film appearance in “Dr. No” Bond has been linked to wrist watches. He has worn Rolex, Breitling, Hamilton, Seiko and Omega during his film career.
Over the years, Sony and MGM have partnered on Bond films with—and this list isn’t close to exhaustive— Mattel, 7UP, Samsonite, Kodak, Calvin Klein, Norelco, Sony Erricsson, British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Ford, Jaguar, Revlon, Rolex, and Omega.
The sky is not falling on product placement, as evidenced by the £28 million (about $45 million) invested in Skyfall, the new James Bond film. It is the sixth Bond film where Heineken will connect its name.
A handful of characteristics define Bond as Bond and connect each new incarnation to Ian Fleming’s legacy, primarily that he’s as promiscuous with women as he is faithful to vodka martinis—shaken not stirred. Which is why some 007 fans felt betrayed by the news of a major partnership between the makers of Skyfall, the 23rd Bond movie, and Dutch brewer Heineken.
The response on Twitter is almost all outrage and cynicism and calls of “sacrilege.” Never mind that Bond has drunk other booze in the past, and that he has on at least one occasion had his martini stirred, not shaken. And never mind that, ever since Sean Connery flew Pan Am and prominently displayed a Smirnoff label in Dr. No 50 years ago, the franchise has slowly but steadily been invaded with brands. Bond’s been driving Aston Martins since Goldfinger, with the occasional dalliance in a BMW. He crashed through a British Airways billboard in Moonraker (1979) and through a Perrier truck in Goldeneye (1995). And in 2002, for Die Another Day, he switched to Finlandia Vodka.
It is the sixth time that Bond and Heineken work together, but for the first time that the Bond-actor in the commercial.