007 marketing, 2012 and 1987

At the official James Bond/Skyfall Facebook page, this went out Jan. 31:

James Bond 007
Bond fans! At 8am GMT, Wednesday 1st Feb the first official image from SKYFALL will be revealed exclusively on 007.com! If you’re in the US then pick up a copy of Wednesday’s edition of USA Today – it’s the first time you’ll be able to see it in print.

(UPDATE: It’s up at the Web site now. You can CLICK HERE to see it, an image of Daniel Craig/Bond with beard stubble, holding in a gloved hand what appears to be a Walther PPK.)

Except, a few weeks ago we were told the first Skyfall photo was out:

Star Daniel Craig, with blue swim trunks, was shown in various Web sites, including: Movieweb, Moviewatch, Entertainmentwise, and Whatculture! and who knows where else. Some billed it as an official photo courtesy of Sony (which is releasing the 23rd James Bond film), others merely said it was a Skyfall photo.

So was that an official release or not? The sheer number of Web sites showing the photo (which also included 007 fan Web sites) suggests it wasn’t Woodward-Bernstein investigative reporting that pried that image from the “Most Secret” vault of Eon Productions, which actually produces Skyfall. And it’s clearly not a “candid” shot (i.e. taken while a scene was being recorded). It appears to be posed and carefully lit and meant to evoke 2006’s Casino Royale, where Craig appeared in light-blue swim trunks.

But that’s in the past and we’re told Bond with stubble and gun is official and Bond in swim trunks wasn’t.

Let’s recap. Skyfall has been filming for almost three months. We have one photo of Craig at a pool (now dubbed unofficial) and now an official still for a movie whose first unit has yet to go beyond the borders of the U.K. (a second unit has been filming in China). Oh, and all those images of clapperboards on the official Bond sites. You know: like THIS ONE or THIS ONE or THIS ONE or….well, you get the point.

By contrast, a quarter-century ago, when Eon was filming The Living Daylights, after a few months of filming, there were cast interviews, footage from exotic locations, publicity stills and all sorts of things. Take a look at this footage from ABC’s Good Morning America in November 1986:

On various 007 fan message boards, participants are saying how great it is so few spoilers have gotten out. And that is a change from previous Bond movies. But, it comes at a cost. By this stage in the filming of most 007 films, there has been a lot of publicity already and some fans wonder why there hasn’t been more with Skyfall. Well, you can’t have it both ways. Eon hasn’t exactly spread the red carpet for reporters (much of the publicity so far has come from Daniel Craig interviews while he’s been trying to publicize The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, SUCH AS THIS ONE.) If you don’t want spoilers, fine. But don’t complain about lack of publicity at the same time.

8 Responses

  1. So far, marketing for Skyfall has been extremely poor in apparent strategy and implementation. And underwhelming and chaotic in results.

    The @007 Tweets could largely be done by anyone: Content mostly nothing more than product sales pitches (e.g., for recycled books and videos), and stuff we’ve better read by Rubin, Cork, and Scivally.

    The clapboard images have become downright annoying. The first video that went up on 007.com managed to praise just about everyone for bringing James Bond to the 50-year mark, with the glaring omission of Ian Fleming.

    Your video embed of Timothy Dalton circa The Living Daylights is spectacular in contrast. And a powerful knuckle-duster to the jaw of 2012 PR.

    Mr Dalton is smart. He’s articulate. He respects the character he’s playing and its legacy. He knows his audience and it’s important to him to deliver to them; he’s accountable. (Not to mention refreshingly not so self-indulgently irritated with too many, too often, about who-knows-what? when it comes up.)

    Ironically, James Bond is owes more to marketing than anything else in the celebration of his *sixtieth* anniversary this year.

    Too bad that, along with the other contributions of Mr Fleming, is sorely lacking in evidence these days.

  2. As far as I understand it that photo of Craig posing by the pool was taken by Empire Magazine, who first published it and it was other websites that said it was official.

    Regards marketing, even on QoS there was a YouTube channel devoted to short clips of filming that all ended up spliced together for the DVD extras.

    Until the first unit goes anywhere interesting I don’t suppose we’ll get anything of any substance.

  3. Folks, it’s only February and there is still a little more than 8 months before the release of SkyFall. Although the producers are doing their best to keep things secret so the surprise will be even more ‘surprising’, many spoilers will no doubt leak out before opening day. As for the publicity of the film and Bond’s 50th anniversary. Have no fear, I’m sure MGM/Sony/Eon and Ian Fleming Publications will not let us down. These things take time to produce and with so many books and DVDs on the subject now, it is harder to offer newer material or even missing footage that has not been seen before. Just enjoy the build-up because by this time next year we will all be wondering when will Bond 24 be rolling before the cameras.

  4. Stuart Basinger speaks the truth. Keep in mind, that Good Morning America puff piece aired 5 months after filming began. It’s not as if the show put their cameras to all the locations, they were airing b-roll footage provided by the studio. The USA Today advertisement (it’s not an article) is a mere glimpse at filming.

    Having spoiled myself silly with TND and TWINE, I avoided spoilers starting with DAD and I am enjoying not having to dodge spoilers left and right.

  5. of course, there will also be exclusive interviews with the cast & crew from the skyfall set. like they did it with CR and QOS. i don’t see any problem at all – SF is out in november, so enough time left!

  6. Filming began on The Living Daylights on Sept. 17, 1986 (source: Inside The Living Daylights featurette on The Living Daylights DVD). The Good Morning America pieces ran in early November 1986, less than two months after the start of filming, not *five months* per one of the comments above.

  7. Also, the Good Morning America pieces ran almost *nine* months before the U.S. premier of The Living Daylights.

    Now, if you think everything is fine with the marketing of Skyfall, you’re welcome to that opinion. But almost nine months before The Living Daylights came out, interviews, publicity stills and video from filming. Not nearly that much has come out from Skyfall. There’s no factual basis to argue otherwise. Emotional? That’s something else.

  8. The point I’d (re-)emphasize is that we DO have Skyfall marketing, and have had for many months now. I’m not talking about speculation, or reacting based on assumption.

    1. The budget- and location-cutting news is credible, if not officially verified. And that’s both chaotic and legitimate fodder for discussion.

    2. The “Clampett, Jed Clampett” image of Daniel Craig as James Bond is the face (no pun intended) that the producers chose to put forward, emphasize.

    3. The exhausted cliches about “this Bond girl is Bond’s equal” and 007 operating outside MI6 (when has Daniel Craig’s James Bond every been “in” MI6?) aren’t plot assumptions.

    4. The Goldfinger references and dusted-off DB5 don’t reassure me; in fact, they seem manipulative. (By the way: What’s the basis for Bond driving a 5-decade-old antique?)

    Now, maybe this is some super-strategic, double-blind smoke screen, like the pre-Casino Royale talk of no tuxedo, no gunbarrel. To lower expectations, maybe?

    But make no mistake: Speaking for myself, I am clearly looking at what “is” and responding to that, specifically.

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