James Bond has a new mission you would never expect. The mission is to sell as many Omega watches, Sony Ericsson phones and Apple computers as possible in only two and a half hours. The new Bond film, “Bond 23,” is scheduled for release in November 2012 and will break the bank with product placement funds. “Bond 23″ will feature $45 million in product placement.
The $45 million in product placement will only cover one-third of the total production cost, but it will break the record for most product placement sponsorship in a movie by $25 million. The previous title went to Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” in 2002 with $20 million in product placement. James Bond will use his infamous charm and stealth to sell you, the audience, products from companies such as Sony, Lexus, Bulgari, American Express, Omega and Apple.
Many problems will come with the new Bond experience as his personality shifts. Now that the story is put on the back burner, along with a diminishing pathos, the Bond character is undercut in order to fulfill the quota for more products who have already bought VIP ticket onto the screen.
Bond’s personality will change to fulfill product quota. Characteristics of Bond include a man of the world, fast paced, always on the move and ever changing. He is a choose it, use it and loose it man. Bond would never settle down with one product. Having Bond stick with a certain phone, car, or liquor is like asking Bond to stick with one woman, and that is simply not going to happen.
In the 2006 Bond film “Casino Royale,” characters whipped out their clean, new Sony Ericsson cell phones 14 times in 144 minutes. That is one phone close-up with logo every 10.1 minutes. This and many other product placement contracts with the film suggest the screenplay may have been written around the products and not Bond. Each contract limits the overall plot and movement of the film.
James Bond has served as a role model for men since his first appearance in 1963. He is the man’s man; he drinks only the best liquor, drives only the best cars and sleeps with only the most beautiful women. Bond can overcome any obstacle just by using his courage, intelligence, wit and charm. Introducing so much product placement changes the way Bond defeats the enemy and overcomes his obstacles.
Bond does not have to worry anymore about heroically using his courage and intelligence to find the damsel in distress, because he can now use the all-new GPS in his spacious, gray Ford Focus to pinpoint her location. The thrill of having a bomb strapped to your chest is gone, because now the bad guys conveniently have a bomb remote app on their new Sony Ericsson phones. The role model is gone; Bond has turned from a man who is capable of anything to a man who has money.
Some may argue that this much product placement is the only way to fund the monumental production typical to Bond films. The budget for the first Bond film, “Dr. No” in 1964, which kicked off the worldwide phenomenon, was simply $1 million. The production budget for the last Bond film in 2008, “Quantum of Solace,” reached $230 million. Bond films should regress back to their original forms. The films should aim to include more wit and plot instead of spending millions to see stunt men jump off of skyscrapers or inventing a 90 ton rig to sink a building into the Venice canal as seen in “Casino Royale.” Special effects are alternatives to boats blowing up and buildings tumbling down.
Ralph Nader, a politician, environmentalist and humanitarian, was once asked, “Where is the one place to go where you won’t see advertising?” He replied, “To sleep.” Product placement is an inescapable beast, which shadows everyone in the hopes they will buy. This beast will change James Bond films forever and maybe even the American dream.