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Product placement gone wild

Tuesday, 17 June 2008 film rant sony

Films and TV need money to cover their extravagant budgets but is product placement the right way to cover those funds?

I understand that media production requires a lot of money. Hollywood films require more than most as projects go. Product placement (that is paying or otherwise influencing a production team to have your products used in portions of a film) is a wacky business. People see their on-screen heroes driving Brand X — they want Brand X. Their mobile is Brand Y — the consumer wants Brand Y. At least that’s how the theory goes…

Casino Royale

Bond films need tons of money to produce and Casino Royale was no exception, running on an estimated budget of $150m. Sony were the major backers and, as you’ll see, they wanted a lot of advertising space in return for their investment. Product placements traditionally feature heavily in Bond films but did they go too far in Casino Royale?

The first thing that stood out was the rugged advert for Land Rover’s Defender. “If you live in a jungle and want to deal in $millions, you want a Defender.”

Casino Royale - Land Rover Defender

This might seem like an odd one to include, but I was curious why they purposefully debranded this phone. It’s one of a tiny handful of all the phones that have no branding — possibly because they’re used by unsophisticated evil-doers. “He owned this non-Sony phone and he’s dead!” … maybe.

Casino Royale - Debranded phone

You could choke on the amount of Sony Vaios in this film. They’re every-sodding-where. Here’s one being used for evil.

Casino Royale - Vaio

The most advanced GPS mapping solution appears to be on a phone. A Sony phone. I should mention that the real-life experience with that phone is slightly different.

Casino Royale - Sony Phone

Ah yes — it’s car time. “James Bond rents Fords to drive to health spas from the airport… Why don’t you?”

Casino Royale - Ford

Fat rich guys drive fancy Range Rovers. “Perhaps they’re rich because they drive Range Rovers.”

Casino Royale - Range Rover

Apparently health spas use security systems that write onto Blu Ray disks.

Casino Royale - Blu Ray

“Buy. This. Phone.”

Casino Royale - Phone

Subtle one: look in the bottom-right corner. The laptop, you can just see is a Vaio. Now you know. It was easier to see at 1080p =)

Casino Royale - Vaio

Oh is the Bodyworlds exhibition in town?

Casino Royale - Bodyworlds

“Buy. This. Phone. Too.”

Casino Royale - Walkman Phone

“This phone can blow shit up. Buy it.”

Casino Royale - Bomb-Phone

Snazzy hotel. Rich, successful people. All using FedEx. It must be good.

Casino Royale - FedEx

Ahh the Aston Martin of the film. A DBS this time around but she’s still pretty hot.

Casino Royale - Aston Martin DBS

I might be grabbing at nothing but there are an awful lot of Smirnoff vodka bottles on that bar. There were also a lot at the airport earlier on. Odd that.

Casino Royale - Vodka

“Why haven’t you bought this phone yet?” Sony shows off another feature that doesn’t exist in real life… At least not on the consumer handsets they keep displaying.

Casino Royale - Schematics on a phone?!

I couldn’t give a toss about watches. I don’t wear one and, at a glance, I couldn’t tell the difference between two brands… However, I can notice when somebody is trying to show one off:

Casino Royale - Watch

Another Vaio this one for Bond to slowly type up his letter of resignation.

Casino Royale - Vaio

So Whatsherface wants to take pictures of Venice. I wonder which outstanding brand of camera she chose…

Casino Royale - Camera

No matter what your take is on this, one thing is for sure: I’m a nit-picking bastard with too much time. Just so long as we’re clear on this point… What did you think? Do you mind when marketing directors vomit over should-be good, clean and classy films? Do you notice deliberate placements?