The internet is awash with people outraged by EON selling out Bond to Heineken. So much so EON is dedicating valuable time and energy to try and put down these open acts of rebellion. So far the lukewarm rebuttals have only added to the aggravation, the mainline of defense (or chief excuse) is the ballooning Bond budgets and the ever growing need to subsidize them. Little consolation for Bond fans (and average movie goers) who subsidize the total cost of the movies (including P&A) through every ticket, video game, DVD, Blu-ray, iTunes and other digital copies bought with their hard earned money.
“This movie costs a lot of money to make, it costs as nearly as much again if not more to promote” – Craig
But how did this become the last straw. Since 2006 Bond has been thuggish lout who couldn’t be bothered to give damn about much of anything let alone his beverage of choice, so why now do fans suddenly draw the line at this? Causal fans everywhere are sounding off about their disappointment about Bond Beer deal, a Facebook group dedicated to protesting this has cropped up and even Roger Ebert has chimed in;
Roger Ebert @ebertchicago
“A cold Heineken’s, please. Shaken, not stirred.” James Bond sells out. http://bit.ly/HFz9ms
In some ways this may be Heineken’s fault (darn there goes our sponsorship deal!) they have a history of very crass advertisements that often get in the way of movies and Television shows they are sponsoring. Then there is the poorly thought out press release trumpeting the unprecedented deal. Unprecedented is the important word here, it told people what to expect. It told people change is coming.
Alexis Nasard, Chief Commercial Officer of HEINEKEN said: “When two great brands like Heineken® and James Bond join together, excitement is guaranteed. We are proud of our long standing partnership. The trust that we have built has allowed us to take the partnership to a new level by linking SKYFALL directly with our award winning global ‘Open Your World’ campaign. We are confident our activation plan will ignite the conversation with our consumers and film viewers.”
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, the SKYFALL producers added: “The level of collaboration with Heineken® is unprecedented. We are excited by the global reach and the creativity that the Heineken® team is able to deliver.”
Bond/Heineken promotional deals were in comparison rather sedate affairs often using the Bond girl of the day or other series actor to promote the green bottle. The time Pierce Brosnan was used it was tactfully done, but it also was not the actor filming a scene in the movie or filming a new appearance for the advertisement. Back then the producers were very conscious of protecting the traditional Bond image.
Nobody at EON or Heineken should have been surprised by this protest, in 2006 a similar rumor of Jimmy Bond Craig sipping beer on screen slipped out, there was a wave of objection back then so anyone paying attention to their audience had to be aware there could be blow back from a decision like this.
Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli were foolish to allow Heineken to use their names in such a manner as the press release did. It provided the impression that Bond sold out, and the producers reveled in the joy of the Heineken®.
There is no longer any question the production despertly needed the cash infusion brought by such a deal, thus leaving them open to the sell out charges. But what were they thinking? Why did they not to take the small precaution of reassuring their audience before the bomb dropped? It’s quite possible they didn’t see a problem, even when early tabloid rumors were that their star was unhappy about the deal as well. They may have well expected their fans to get in line as they always do, after all EON has gotten away with so much since 2005 (trashing 40 years of history ) it must have hardly seemed credible Bond asking for an ‘ice cold one’ could cause such a stir.
Which brings us to our next problem, Bond in the guise of Daniel Craig being used to sell beer through his image on the bottle and in television spots. Beyond the idea of tarnishing the Bond brand is the reality of the competition. In 2006 Dos Equis beer launched The Most Interesting Man In The World ad campaign. It features suave sophisticated character with bits of film footage recounting his many fantastic adventures and accomplishments, then the character smoothly adds his catchphrase selling the beer, “I don’t always drink beer,” he says, “but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends.”
This is how James Bond 007 should be used to sell beer if ever the fateful decision be made. Alas the decision has been made but what we are likely going to see is a series of tough guy pouting acts by Craig and some very painful “Make mine a Heineken.” & “It’s my favourite choice of beer. I drink it every morning – doesn’t everybody?”
The same people who brought us the ill considered Women’s Day PSA putting 007 in drag thought it was time to commit to larger footprint from Heineken. What’s done is done we can only hope the complaints from wide range of people; from Bond actors, to reporters & critics, and average fans has some impact in limiting crass product placements.
We expect is that after the loud fan objections whatever the on screen Heineken portrayal will be, it will be rather scaled back and tame in lieu of what some are expecting. Still what will the reaction be when Craig inevitably turns the bottle until the label faces the audience in all the inescapable glory of the 30 ft tall theater screen.