The winner for Skyfall product placement

Daniel Craig's 007 has a Macallan

Daniel Craig’s 007 has a Macallan


BRAND CHANNEL, a Web site devoted to marketing, has determined the winner of companies who struck product placement deals in Skyfall. Who finished atop the heap? None other than Macallan Scotch Whisky.

Here’s an excerpt:

But no brand got more exposure than The Macallan whisky, which appeared in several scenes and was even called out by name as one of Bond’s particular favorites. All the better, the placement didn’t cost Macallan a (Money)penny. “When the final edit of the Skyfall came out our Macallan director was a little nervous about the drink being associated with the scene where Daniel Craig takes a dram then fires a gun—as obviously being an alcoholic beverage it is important for us not to be associated with violence, crime, and underage drinking,” Lucy McQueen, the public affairs assistant for Macallan-owner Edrington Group, told brandchannel.

(snip)

Front Row Analytics, the analysis division of Front Row Marketing Services, estimates the value of Macallan’s appearance in Skyfall at $8.98 million. And that’s just the theatrical value through January 2013. Front Row, which uses proprietary analytics to put a dollar value on eyeballs and other subjective criteria, further projects value of $473,647 (DVD / Digital) and $256,667 (future broadcast airings) for Macallan. But there’s more.

“The brand value that Macallan has and will receive over the lifetime of the film, is unlike other product placements,” said Eric Smallwood, Senior Vice President of Front Row Marketing Services & Front Row Analytics.

The article notes the “50-year” Macallan in the film was a 1962 vintage, meaning it was a 25-year-old bottle of Scotch. Getting some of the latter costs about $2,600. An actual 50-year-old bottle would cost $7,800. Either is a big step up from Heineken, the main beer sponsor of Skyfall.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE. The story also evaluates product placement of other 2012 movies, including Argo and Ted.

The Web site

New edition of 007 drinks book now available in U.S.

“This sounds like valuable information, James.”


The second edition of The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond is now available in the U.S. and can be had for free for the next few days. The new edition includes updates for Skyfall, the 23rd 007 film.

Also, the book’s author, David Leigh, who runs the James Bond Dossier Web site, assures everyone that 007 hasn’t become a Heineken-only guy despite the movie’s widely publicized product-placement deal.

Here’s part of the text of a press release:

To help celebrate the eagerly awaited US release of “Skyfall”, the second edition of “The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond” by David Leigh is available for free for a limited period from Amazon.com, Amazon UK and Amazon Europe.

The book, which is exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle stores, includes updated information on the drinks from “Skyfall” and can be downloaded for free between November 3 and November 7 2012.

David, who also runs The James Bond Dossier, says, ‘many people were unhappy at the announcement earlier this year that James Bond would be seen drinking Heineken beer in “Skyfall”. However, this really isn’t a big deal for a number of reasons; first, 007 drank beer in several of the books; second, don’t think that he only
drinks beer in “Skyfall”; and third, while most people associate vodka martinis and champagne with 007, he actually drinks more whisky in the novels anyway’.

This updated edition of “The Complete Guide to the Drinks of James Bond” covers drinks from all Ian Fleming’s novels and short stories, as well as the film series that celebrates its fiftieth anniversary this year. It takes a detailed look at the spirits, cocktails and wines enjoyed by 007, providing background information as well as book and movie references throughout.

For more information, just CLICK HERE for David Leigh’s author page on Amazon.

Here’s a most unliklely critic of the Skyfall-Heineken (R) deal

See for yourself:

(We spotted this originally on the message boards of the MI6 James Bond fan Web site.)

How did the 007-Heineken deal become such a big deal?

The flap over Heineken’s product-placement deal with Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond movie, isn’t going away. How’d that happen? After all, James Bond drank beer in some of Ian Fleming’s original stories. He had beer in some movies, as recently as 2008’s Quantum of Solace, the most recent 007 flick.

"James, was this beer deal such a good idea?"
"Pass me a Heineken, Felix!"


With 20-20 hindsight, it’s not that surprising. Here’s what led to the situation:

The financial conditions of two studios: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which owns half the 007 franchise, recently was in bankruptcy court, emerging as a smaller company. It ended up cutting a deal with Sony Corp. to distribute Skyfall (and the next 007 film). But Sony has financial problems of its own. That meant:

Skyfall was going to rely heavily on product placement: The Sunday Times of London reported 11 month ago that MGM and Sony were looking to product placement deals to supply as much as one-third of Skyfall’s budget (this link shows the version of the Sunday Times story that appeared in The Australian). Months later, Skyfall star Daniel Craig tactily admitted that product placement was vital to Skyfall.

As a result, the media and some fans were on red alert: Bond movies had been criticized before for what seemed like excessive product placement. Some fans noted how 1979’s Moonraker included plenty of plugs for Marlboro cigarettes, British Airways and 7-Up. The 2006 Casino Royale movie, Craig’s debut as Bond, was noted for how it shoehorned a reference for Omega watches into a key scene with Craig’s Bond and Eva Green’s Vesper Lynd. Documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, who had done a film on product placement, included 007 films in his critique.

The initial announcement of Heineken’s Skyfall deal wasn’t handled well: Heineken’s Feb. 8 press release announcing the product-placement deal had a lot of chest-thumping by both the company and Eon Productions, which produces the 007 movies:

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.”

Of course, Heineken and Eon could have mentioned that 007 had consumed beer in Ian Fleming’s novels and Eon’s movies. Evidently, they were so busy discussing how wonderful they were, that fact just couldn’t be squeezed into the press release. Make no mistake, when a press release quotes an executive, those quotes are approved by the executive ahead of time. This wasn’t an oversight. This is the message Heineken and Eon wanted to get across. Translation of said message: “We’re wonderful, you’re lucky to have us.”

Timing is everything: In this case, the timing was bad. Yes, Bond drank more than just martinis on the page and on the screen. (In Live And Let Die, director Guy Hamilton and screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz made a point of having first-time 007 Roger Moore drink bourbon to avoid comparisons with Sean Connery.) But Bond was, for better or worse, identified with martinis in movies.

In addition, the Casino Royale reboot shook things up. The movie turned the traditional Bond formula on its head as we watched a thuggish Bond learn to be a gentleman. They could have chose to shown how a gentleman learned to become tough (this is not an original observation on our part) but the filmmakers didn’t take that approach. During Casino Royale’s marketing, we were told, the film shows “how James became Bond.” We were told by the end of the movie, the James Bond we all knew would emerge. Then, in 2008’s Quantum of Solace, we were told that James wasn’t Bond just yet. Hence, the gunbarrel scene, again, wasn’t at the start of the movie.

As a result, in the last six years, Bond fans have processed at lot of change. The Heineken deal meant yet more change and that’s been the theme of much of the coverage since the deal was first announced. Maud Adams, who appeared in two 007 films, said “this has gone too far. Martini was something elegant when I served Roger Moore and it is elegant to this day.”

Some fans say this was all planned by Heineken to get publicity. We doubt it. Most companies don’t like publicity where people dump on you. This probably will blow over. Then again, we first thought this would have blown over by now.

UPDATE: According to A YAHOO! MOVIES POST blog post, Michael G. Wilson told reporters in Mexico (he was speaking from the U.K.) that: “Bond would sup Heineken in the film, but added that he would drink Vodka Martinis as well.”

Daniel Craig’s 007 economics 101

By this point, most James Bond fans are tired about reading about the Heineken product-placement deal with Skyfall and, based on recent remarks, it appears Daniel Craig is, too. But the Skyfall star may have provided a small lesson on the economics of James Bond movies.

Daniel Craig: teacher of 007 movie economics for a day


Craig, as part of a publicity blitz, spoke to the U.K. edition of the Huffington Post and the U.S. Moviefone Web site (both are part of AOL and carried the same story). In THAT INTERVIEW the Skyfall star said the following:

“We have relationships with a number of companies so that we can make this movie. The simple fact is that, without them, we couldn’t do it. It’s unfortunate but that’s how it is…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. (emphasis added)

That’s not a lot of detail and others in the movie business have said similar things for a long time. However, it’s more detail than the makers of 007 movies get into. Usually they say it costs a lot and let it go at that.

So let’s take a look at how this rough calculation applied to the most recent Bond film, 2008’s Quantum of Solace. That movie had a reported budget of $230 million. To keep the math easy, let’s double that figure to add in the promotional costs. That gets you to $460 million.

Quantum’s woroldwide box office was just shy of $592 million, the second-best ever gross for the 50-year series. Now, that’s in unadjusted dollars. Then again, studios don’t deal in adjusted dollars; they deal with box office in the hear and now. Anyway, sounds like Sony Corp.’s Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer must have done OK, after all that’s more than $130 million than the combined production-promotional cost.

Except, the studios didn’t keep all that $592 million. Theaters got a cut; typically, that’s tiny at the start and becomes more the longer a movie plays. Also, while the details aren’t public, the studios had to split whatever profits there were with Eon Productions, which controls half the 007 franchise and actually produces the films.

We don’t pretend to know the final figures, but the profit, if any, may have been relatively small for Sony and MGM. Last month, MGM disclosed it lost money on The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo, also starring Craig, which had a $100 million production budget (and presumably similar sized outlay for promtion) with a worldwide box office of $231 million. Like both Quantum of Skyfall, that was a joint Sony/MGM deal.

Looking ahead to Skyfall, Eon co-bosses Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in November there had been no budget cuts for Skyfall. If Skyfall’s budget matches the reported $230 million budget of Skyfall, that would also be a combined $460 million production and promotional cost. Skyfall would need to at least match Quantum’s box office for it not to be viewed as a disappointment.

Thus, product-placement deals — and the Bond series is hardly a stranger to them — are a way to hedge bets. That’s especially true for Skyfall, where Sony is having financial troubles and MGM emerged from bankruptcy not that long ago.

Fans may think James Bond will go on forever and that product-placement deals are a nuisance. And yes, there are other sources of revenue (though falling prices for DVDs are eating into that). Still, Daniel Craig lifted the veil just a tiny bit on a more complicated financial picture.

The literary James Bond and beer

The product-placement deal between Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, and Heineken has gotten some 007 fans worked up. Yahoo! Movie’s MovieTalk blog did an April 4 post summarizing fan reaction. An exerpt:

"Martini, James?"
"No. Make mine Heineken (R)."

“D**** you, Product Placement,” Doug wrote on Twitter in response to our update on @YahooMovies. Davey C simply tweeted “Screw ’em.” Dave Yakir echoed thoughts with a “what a load of crap” tweet, and Keith Williams typed, “Booooo!!!”

The James Bond of Ian Fleming’s original novels and short stories was no stranger to beer, though he didn’t drink it with the same frequency as martinis, bourbon, whiskeys and soda or champagne. But here is a sampling:

Diamonds Are Forever (1956): Bond and Felix Leiter are driving to Saratoga from New York City. The duo “stopped for lunch at The Chicken in the Basket, a log-built Frontier-style road-house with standard equipment…(T)he scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Miller Highlife beer came quickly and were good.”

The Living Daylights (1962): Bond is in Berlin. One one of three nights a British agent will cross the border between East and West and 007 is to shoot a KGB assassin. During one afternoon, after a two-hour walk, has a meal in a restaurant. He has two Molle mit Korn, which we’re told is a double schapps “washed down with draught Lowenbrau.”

The Man With the Golden Gun (1965): Trying to get a lead on killer Fransisco Scaramanga, Bond stops by a brothel and orders a Red Stripe beer. The woman taking his order “deftly uncapped the bottle and put it on the counter besides an almost clean glass.”

In 2006, the Brookston Beer Bulletin blog had a long post (CLICK HERE to read it; the post also has a longer list of other times the literary Bond had beer) that addressed the possibility 007 might have a Heinken in that year’s Casino Royale movie. The blog did not approve of that brand.

But Heineken? Not Heineken. Bond’s character would never drink such swill. He wouldn’t be a snob about wine, food, clothes, cars and practically everything else and then drink such a pedestrian beer.

(snip)

The fictional resort town where most of the (Casino Royale) novel takes place is supposedly near the mouth of the Somme River in the Picardie region, which is only about two hours from Belgium. So while France is not known for its beers, a good selection of Belgian beers would likely be available at the casino and area restaurants. That’s what a beer savvy Bond would order.

We suspect all of this will depend how the Heineken placement is handled. If Daniel Craig’s Bond has a Heineken while still having other drinks, no problem. On the other hand, if it’s handled like this recent Hawaii Five-0 episode with Subway, audiences may wince:

The proprietor of the James Bond Dossier was interviewed by the CBC about product placement and the Heineken deal. Just CLICK HERE to check it out.

UPDATE (April 8): The Scotsman.com Web site has weighed in on the subject and you can CLICK HERE to read it. The article starts off with an anecdote that appears to have been taken from the 1998 book Adrian Turner on Goldfinger. We say appears because the quotes are the same as the ones Turner got from interviewing Guy Hamilton. There’s no attribution of the quotes, however.

UPDATE II (April 9): Looks like the Web site of Bloomberg Businessweek also ran a short article on the subject.