We see product placement everywhere. A trip to the movies has become a trip to a subliminal shopping mall, where the underlying takeaway message is: buy this.
But what happens when film fans don’t like what the product placers are selling? What happens when they start messing around with something important? What happens when they turn James Bond, a suave, martini-drinking British secret agent, into a beer-drinker?
That is the $45-million question James Bond fans have been fretting about in recent days after word leaked out that Heineken has paid top dollar to the filmmakers to show 007 drinking beer in Skyfall, the latest installment of the Bond franchise due out in October.
“We look for certain things in the Bond series,” says Lisa Funnell, a film studies instructor at Wilfrid Laurier University. “And the question is: is the martini dry, shaken, not stirred, too central an aspect of Bond’s identity to be taken away?”
Think about it: Would a Bond movie be a Bond movie if there wasn’t a Bond girl with a ridiculous name (think: Pussy Galore, Plenty O’Toole, Holly Goodhead), an awesome, British-manufactured sports car (Aston Martin or a Lotus), a nifty gadget courtesy of “Q,” a flirty repartee with Moneypenny, a roll of the eyes out of “M,” and a martini, dry, shaken not stirred?
Bond has been knocking them back for 59 years. Author Ian Fleming introduced readers to his signature drink in Chapter 7 of the 1953 novel Casino Royale
Ok look, I’m a reasonable guy, but there’s some things in this world you just don’t mess-about about with. James Bond’s beverage of choice is one of them!
I can picture it now:
“So Mr. Bond! I finally you captured in my top secret underground layer! Do you have any last requests before I kill you until you are very dead?” asks Mr Blofeld in his usual menacing tone. “…the usual Vodka Martini I assume…or is it a glass of Bollinger?”
<And I’m not too sure why, but I picture Bond saying this next part in a very Yorkshire accent.>
”Nah mate, that’s alright! I’ll just take a few jars o’ Heineken if that’s all t’same with you! Oh, and throw in a bag of peanuts will you while you’re at it will ya Gov’nah!” answers Bond.