Some Skyfall Product Placements Make Sense, Others Don’t

by Gregg on December 30, 2012

I literally just got home from finally seeing the new James Bond 007 thriller Skyfall. You might remember that this film got a lot of publcity – and not all of it positive – before it came out due to what many felt were excessive product placements. Product placements, of course, tie a brand to what it hopes will be a hit film, but in this case, also what the 007 franchise stands for – high-class, impeccable style, exclusivity and more than a hint of danger. According to this India Times video, 007’s product placements are worth $45 million USD.

I went in expecting to be overwhelmed by overt product placements. So to amuse myself, I counted how many brands I noticed in the film, and I ended up with a list of 17 (and those are the ones that I caught). Admittedly, the number seems a little excessive, but as this article from BrandChannel.com notes, the best product placements are subtle, and that’s how I’d describe those in Skyfall.

The ususal suspects were there, including Walther and Aston Martin, along others you’d expect, considering Bond’s line of work, like Jaguar and Mercedes Benz. Plus, there were references to CNN and BBC, which made sense contextually. But here are some that I found a bit curious, because I wasn’t sure they exactly fit:

Heineken: One of the biggest complaints about Skyfall is that Bond drinks a Heineken, and some of this was driven by an ad campaign Heinken ran before the movie came out, featuring Daniel Craig on a train, buying the familiar Dutch brew in a green bottle. Some wondered whether Bond sold out his familiar vodka martini that’s shaken, not stirred. To be fair, Bond had a Heineken early in the film in a context that made sense (he had escaped death after falling from a tall bridge in Turkey, and was "rehabilitating"), and had his signature drink later in the film. Still, Bond even drinking beer? Hmm.

Adidas: Bond gets back to MI6 and has to go through a series of mental and physical tests to ensure he’s ready for duty. In the latter, he’s wearing a pair of dark Adidas cross trainers with the familiar three white stripes. Sure, he has to wear something, but I wouldn’t guess Bond would wear Adidas. That one seemed like a stretch to me.

The BrandChannel.com article also notes that the British luxury brand Belstaff was featured throughout the film, but that was lost on me since I had never heard of Belstaff until I sat down to write this post. After having checked out its website, I can confirm that Belstaff aligns with the high-class style of 007. (A $50,000 leather jacket? Whoa.)

But give Belstaff credit for its product placement. I had literally never heard of this brand, and the only reason I know about is because I saw the movie, which Sony just announced today went over the $1 billion mark globally. Sony Vaio computers were featured throughout Skyfall, by the way.

And now I’m giving it even greater exposure through the power of social media and my Twitter, Facebook and Google+ channels.

That’s how it works these days, no?