Love it or hate it Product Placement is a part of modern movie making.
From the minute that Sean Connery drinks a Martini with Smirnoff Vodka in Dr No right up to Daniel Craig getting a text on a Sony phone in Skyfall, there have always been real-life products sharing screen time with 007.
Product Placement is a necessary evil for movie makers. In these days of credit-crunch and mega-million-dollar film budgets it is not surprising that money has to be found from somewhere.
Companies who want their products to be associated with the suave secret agent pay millions of dollars to have their goods showcase in the film - even if it I just for a few seconds on film. It is advertising on a global scale, with everyone who goes to see a Bond movie as a potential customer.
Now I don't mind product placement. After all, Ian Fleming liked to use brand names in his novels - such as Ronson Lighters, Morelands Special cigarettes, Bentley Motorcars and Floris toiletries to name but a few - so there's nothing new to it. It's just that some people think that the films sell out when the product placements have no bearing on the scenes in the film.
There are a few examples however when marketing seems to take a grip on the film and it spoils the narrative of the movie. Take for example the above scenes in Casino Royale. I understand that Bond uses a hire car to travel to around the Bahamas in his search for the sender of the ELIPSIS text. But the scenes when he's driving the (at the time) new look Ford Mondeo is filmed like a car commercial - and even the soundtrack sounds like the soundtrack of a car commercial. So who'd have thought that this was a promotion for the soon to be launched car. This is so obviously a product placement it might have well have been edited as Bond Will Be Back After This Break! The car however does have the distinction of being the first car that Daniel Craig's 007 drives, and it is now on permanent loan to The Ian Fleming Foundation.
And why we're at it when it's illegal in the UK to use a mobile phone when driving isn't it wrong and irresponsible of the film makers showing Bond using his phone whilst using the GPS on it to locate The One & Only Ocean Club.
On the flip side of the coin one of the good things is that Product Placement often means that there are some TV adverts made to cross-promote products and the Bond movies at the time of their release.
Here is a collection of some of them, but I would like to add that although the first advert is for a brand of cigarettes www.bondmisc.weebly.com do not advocate smoking. It's bad for your health. I know it. You know it. So don't do it!
Now here's the adverts:
So will Product Placement return when James Bond Returns? I think so as for as long as people will want to have products associated with 007 there will also be film producers needing to balance their accounting books.