How Branding Works in Movies

Yesterday I went to see Skyfall in the theatre. Not going to ruin anything, but the first 20 minutes of the film was just filled with adrenaline pumping action (*o*) The movie took an estimated $150 million to make according to IMDB.  With that kind of budget, the 50 year old franchise had to leverage its James Bond brand in order to acquire funding from sponsors. Many people think product placement is how companies advertise in movies, but branding can work in other ways too (^_-)

Heineken allegedly paid £28 million ($45 million) on their advertising campaign with Skyfall. That’s almost 1/3 the cost of the movie. The deal means that Bond (Daniel Craig) has to drink Heineken beer on the big screen. But that’s not all. Besides just having their brand in the film, the Dutch brewing company also has associated branding power they can use themselves. For example they have the exclusive rights to make a beer commercial with Daniel Craig in it, along with his co-star Berenice Marlohe (la Bond girl)  Here’s Heineken’s 90 second advertisement promoting the movie if you want to see it.

Another form of associated branding is of course new promotional packaging for beer bottles and cans. All of this is included in the $45 million deal.

Co-branding empowers companies to create marketing synergy that would benefit both parties. For example, having an Aston Martin in a James Bond film is what fans of the series will expect and appreciate (because that’s Bond’s signature car) making the movie a more positive experience for its viewers. At the same time Aston Martin, the luxury sports car company, benefits from the onscreen exposure of their automobiles. Coca-Cola is another major partner of Skyfall. They have secured some very lucrative licensing deals with the James Bond brand as well.

Associated-marketing can also bring fictitious products into reality. P&G, the consumer goods company, has introduced a James Bond 007 Cologne right before Skyfall was released. Good timing. It is described as containing notes of bergamot, geranium, rose thorn, and vetiver. Guys, how much would you pay to smell like a double O agent? lol. Apparently you can buy these at Kohl’s for $30 to $40. There was even a theatrical ad for this cologne right before the movie started.

Hmm, it’s a pretty smart marketing move by P&G I admit, but I wonder how many people would actually buy the cologne. Because that’s almost as silly as coming out with a new nail polish and claiming that women who wear it can feel like a sexy Bond girl 😛 Like how gullible can consumers be?

Oh, never mind. Apparently the women in Skyfall are actually wearing OPI nail polish.  So what we see in the movie is the real deal. So now the nail lacquer company OPI can create and market their own 007 line of nail polish and boast about how good their product looks on the big screen. They’ve also done associated marketing deals on Casino Royale, Die Another Day, GoldenEye, and other Bond films. Pretty clever actually.

I love the ingenuity companies are coming up with 😀 From inventing a fragrance based on a fictional character to nail polish, branding partnerships is a win-win for everyone. Sometimes these side deals and co-marketing licenses can be very complicated and take years of planning, negotiating, and working with retail/distributors to finally make a deal. The Belstaff jacket that the antagonist wears in the movie for example had been in negotiations since the last two Bond films. But if you have clever ideas and know what you’re doing, there’s definitely money to be made in this space. Some people may not like the idea of product placement. But even Bond himself admits without the support of all their partners they couldn’t have made the film.

“We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie. ..without them, we couldn’t do it. This movie costs a lot of money to make. It costs as nearly as much again if not more to promote, so we go where we can” ~ Daniel Craig

The shooting of Skyfall was delayed due to funding problems because the film maker MGM was having financial difficulties. If what Graig said is true then expect to see just as much branding in future Bond movies, if not more.

Random Useless Fact:  Other brands seen in the Skyfall film include Sony, Tom Ford, Caterpillar, and Omega. See if you can find them all if you ever get a chance to watch the movie :0)

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11/11/2012 7:31 am

Can’t wait to see the caterpillar machine with a 007 branding 😛

11/11/2012 7:52 am
Reply to  Not Working

Haha, that would be funny. I think despite the possibility of that happening CAT put some real time and effort to have their 320D L in the film. In a press release they said it took several months of pre-planning and redesign of their machine to have it specially customized for the mechanics of the movie.

11/11/2012 8:26 am

I’m looking forward to seeing the movie but will wait a few weeks. I’m always interested by what companies pay to be associated with big movies or TV shows – with declining viewership its a good way to keep then industries alive.

11/12/2012 11:31 pm
Reply to  Brian

it’s a good idea to wait, especially if you plan to go with a large group. We were there 30 minutes early and the seats were already 2/3rds full (0.o)

Pauline @ Reach Financial Independence

Thank you for explaining how branding works, I was curious too. TV shows and movies are about the only exposure that I get to brands and I often find myself craving something that I don’t need at the end of the show! Those guys are good!

11/12/2012 11:33 pm

They can be pretty sneaky about it. Maybe it has something to do with subliminal messages, lol.

11/11/2012 7:53 pm

Maybe it’s just me, but 007 drinking a Heineken just seems sacrilegious. Shaken not stirred is synonymous with bond. What’s next, Bond driving a Ford F 150?

11/12/2012 11:40 pm
Reply to  thefrugalpaths

Feels a bit out of place doesn’t it. I’ve heard in the original novel Bond does drink beer, but I doubt it was a Heineken :0) Lol, if he drove an F-150 I think there will be many disappointed fans.

John S @ Frugal Rules
11/12/2012 6:52 am

Good post. Things like this have been going on for years, but this just points to how it’s gone over the top. I generally have no problem with it as I know that I am being sold to. But, I am a hard sell so it usually doen’t work on me.

11/12/2012 11:46 pm

I’m not proud to say it but the next time I’m in a pub I just might get myself a bottle of Bond’s favorite beer. But for more expensive things like a watch, or a suit, I would have to think twice and go with reviews and friend’s recommendations instead.

11/12/2012 7:32 am

It’s crazy nowadays as you can get just about anything on the market when it comes to branding for movies and for singers.. just look at justin bieber and OPI nail polish.. REALLY? But it sells, same with coca cola and 007… it’s no surprise that we as consumers get drawn in by the glitz and glamour. Great post. Mr.CBB

11/12/2012 11:50 pm

Maybe it’s all just a big conspiracy to keep the minds of average people busy and occupied so we don’t have time to think about what’s really important in our lives, like reaching financial freedom for example, lol. Just kidding 🙂

11/12/2012 4:47 pm

Hmmmm… I want to be branded… with a hot iron. Okay, maybe not! I probably should be at times! 😉
😉 Anyway… I don’t like branding really, I hate the overkill, oversell of it all. I hate when they come out with a movie, a doll, a drink, a website, etc. Its just too much. Then 5 minutes later, its not cool and something else is.

11/13/2012 12:03 am
Reply to  DebtGirl

Haha, well, whatever butters your toast :0) The business of marketing moves so quickly. Even viral videos that get millions of views are replaced by other Youtube videos the next week. A lot of the time advertisers are just trying to make an impression and possibly make a quick buck, so it’s hard to find anything consistent. I will have to say some of these associated branding deals make for great gift ideas. I may not use the 007 cologne, but I can, for example, see myself buying it for a friend who might be a hard core James Bond fan and can appreciate the legitimately licensed value of the souvenir.

11/13/2012 2:07 pm
Reply to  Liquid

Yes, its true! At least you know its a good product most of the time if it has been backed with all that cash! 😉