Each new James Bond film, in addition to being an event in and of itself, is a massive advertisement for every single branded item seen on the silver screen. Whether it's 007's Smirnoff vodka, Walther pistol, or Aston Martin automobile, each item's appearance on screen is indeed a Very Big Deal for the company behind it. And so, Ford is crowing about its involvement in Casino Royale in an article on its website (read it after the jump). The film represents the first time the general populace will see the new European-market Ford Mondeo and Aston Martin's DBS (shown), which will spawn a production model as well.
Ford's desire to promote its involvement is to be expected. After all, firms pay big bucks to get placed in high-profile films. A full read of the article, however, reveals a bit of gloating as FoMoCo has some fun with the fact that it, and not Toyota, is the supplier of James Bond's car. While we thank God that we weren't subjected to the sight of James Bond driving a Camry (a clear sign of the apocalypse), the reality is that Toyota offered up something significantly more upmarket. Apparently, they approached the filmmakers with enough dough to fill the bed of a Tundra and proposed having their upcoming supercar (presumably the production version of the LF-A concept) be Bond's ride of choice.
There's more after the jump, so read on!
[Source: Ford via Inside Line]
Of the offer, Ford Brand Entertainment's Al Uzielli said, "We're all in a business where we have to be extremely careful in where we take our brands. It just wouldn't seem right to have the consummate British agent drive a Japanese car. Regardless of what the money was, in the long run, it's 'where does that take your brand?'"
Really? I recall the consummate British agent driving German cars from 1995 to 1999 and no one losing sleep over it. Sure, there was a brief outcry prior to GoldenEye's arrival in 1995, but after that it was a non-issue. People other than the real die-hards generally have more pressing worries than what make of car is being driven by a fictional character in a movie.
Don't get me wrong. I'm thrilled that the filmmakers have had Bond back behind the wheel of an Aston the last few years. There's a decades-long history between James Bond and Aston Martin on film, and aside from all that, the DBS is ridiculously cool. But calling out Toyota by name over this is just silly and ill-advised. Aston Martin is, after all, for sale, and this likely marks the last appearance it'll make in a James Bond film as a member of Ford's product portfolio. Next time, someone else will bask in the perceived glory. Maybe that's why Ford's being as vocal about this as it is -- it knows there won't be a next time.
Still, it doesn't seem very wise, because while Ford does the "raise the roof" gesture over this product placement as if they just scored a touchdown, Toyota waves back from its perch labeled "#2 Worldwide" -- a spot it it took away from Ford in the first place -- while it plots its next move and points at the scoreboard. Whose position would you rather be in?
FORD CO-STARS IN NEW BOND FILM
By Daniel Wallace, FCN
The highly anticipated Bond...James Bond...film, "Casino Royale," opens this week in theaters around the world and Bond lovers will play close attention to actor Daniel Craig, the new 007--what he's wearing, who's on his arm and certainly, what he drives.
When it comes to Bond's vehicles in "Casino Royale," Ford takes center stage.
The movie features the new Aston Martin DBS as well as the refreshed Ford Mondeo. "Casino Royale" continues Ford's longstanding relationship with the Bond franchise that stretches back over five decades and 17 films.
"It's both deeply gratifying and tremendously exciting to watch the partnership between Ford and James Bond continue to grow," said Myles Romero, director, Ford Global Brand Entertainment. "Just as every actor who's played James Bond has brought his distinctive sensibilities to the role, the new models that 'co-star' in this film are simultaneously unique and immediately recognizable as members of the Ford family."
James Bond is typically associated with super sporty vehicles outfitted with technically advanced gadgetry – something the average person might never get the chance to drive. But this film takes on a slightly more prosaic approach. The cars are still sporty, but they're much like the ones you'd see at your area dealership. You get a sense of that in the first few minutes of the film when Bond gets into a Ford Mondeo that transports him to a hotel in the Bahamas.
When filmmakers approached Ford, Mondeo's design was just a sketch on the drawing board. The result was a misty blue five-door Mondeo equipped with a sports body kit that hinted at what the new model would look like in '07. It took crews several weeks to build the vehicle by hand. It is basically a body shell, without amenities like air conditioning, and an engine just big enough to go 30 mph.
Mondeo's presence in "Casino Royale" is big news for Ford of Europe and is one of its largest product placements.
"It's amazing the amount of interest that is generated around this vehicle. It was a closed set but paparazzi were hiding everywhere," Romero said.
The reveal of the new Mondeo in the film is part of Ford's European marketing platform called "Ford Feel the Difference," which seeks to make an emotional connection with customers.
"In very broad terms, the association with 'Casino Royale' delivers perfectly on the platform theme as it will enable us to build more style in our brand," said Lyn West, Brand Communication Strategies manager, Ford of Europe. "The movie is about adventure, glamour, technology and humour -- thereby supporting our marketing message of 'style with substance.' "
"We're delighted to be part of this exciting new Bond project," said Stephen Odell, Ford of Europe vice president, Marketing Sales and Service. "On the big screen, the new Mondeo looks impressive and eye-catching, and we're convinced this appearance, although brief, will stimulate early customer interest in the new model"
Full details of the new Mondeo will remain under wraps until the car is officially launched early in 2007. It will be sold in 21 countries abroad.
In true Bond style, 007's mode of transportation for most of the movie is an Aston Martin. The luxury automaker is showcasing its newest product, the Aston Martin DBS, a car that captures the elegance of a DB9 and the power of a DBR9 race car.
It's a role coveted by other automakers. According to Al Uzielli, senior advisor, Ford Global Brand Entertainment, Toyota offered the Broccoli family, owners of the Bond franchise, a multi-million dollar deal to put Bond behind the wheel of Lexus' supercar.
"The beauty of Aston Martin is that it's such a natural fit for the character," said Uzielli, grandson of Henry Ford II. There's also a long-standing family relationship since Henry Ford II brokered the deal with Albert 'Cubby' Broccoli to showcase the '64½ Ford Mustang convertible in the Goldfinger film.
From the brand of the liquor Bond drinks to the cars he drives, filmmakers pay close attention to detail, making sure every element is consistent with the setting and is sensible for the film.
"We're all in a business where we have to be extremely careful in where we take our brands. It just wouldn't seem right to have the consummate British agent drive a Japanese car. Regardless of what the money was, in the long run, it's 'where does that take your brand?'" Uzielli said.
The Jaguar XJ Sport and XJR and Land Rover Range Rover Sport, also take part in the action -- driven by both Bond and villains in high-speed chase scenes. Bob Witter, manager, Ford Global Brand Entertainment, says Ford has greater room to negotiate because of the wide range of vehicles it can offer through its many brands.
Romero says product integration gains brand exposure in a way traditional marketing cannot. "Die Another Day," he says, generated more than a billion positive impressions for the company worldwide.
"If you integrate products into a film that, first of all, make sense with the script and, secondly, work well with the creative, you successfully get your marketing message across. I think movie-goers will find that Ford has a lot to offer," he said.