“Integrated branding” may sound like a college course you slept through as a Freshman, but for the James Bond franchise, it’s a signal of game-changing opportunity.
A new deal with popular beer Heineken will see 007 become the face of the alcoholic beverage, from emblazoned bottles to posters to anything else that can hold the name and the face in one place. But here’s the kicker: in the upcoming 2012 Bond movie Skyfall, actor Daniel Craig will actually order a Heineken. Shaken? Stirred? Only if you’re talking my reaction.
As a long-time Bond fan, the idea of Her Majesty’s favorite secret serviceman passing up a shaken, not stirred martini — even a Vesper Martini at that (that’s three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet, shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel, for those drinking at home) — in favor of a brewsky makes me want to reach for my PP7. But as the eternal optimist, maybe there’s a way to see the product placement with a cocktail glass half full perspective. First off, the integration is only adding dollars to Skyfall‘s budget. Translation: bigger, better action scenes. Second, Craig’s recent string of Bond movies, including the ubersuccessful reboot Casino Royale and the perfectly acceptable, Bourne-esque Quantum of Solace have gone to great lengths to make everything Bond does, touches, enters the space of extraordinarily badass. Why not Heineken?
In an effort to quell my own devoted fan fears, here are five suggestions on how to make Heineken not just cool, but Bond cool.
“You Call That a Drink?”
The new, gritty Bond wouldn’t do a spit take (leave the wacky comedy to Roger Moore), but there’s no reason the Heineken moment couldn’t be played for a quick laugh. Bond enters a shabby bar and, oh dear, all they have is beer. One sip of Heineken makes the smooth spy squirm in disgust.
If there’s any pop culture alpha male out there who can MacGuyver something, it’s James Bond. All he has to do is shake up a bottle of Heineken, and use the inertia from the beer’s groundbreaking carbonation technology to launch a small rocket — constructed from several Heineken bottles, cans, and a novelty mug (all fused together via the glue on the backs of the Heineken labels) — which, in turn, fires a barrage of Heineken bottle caps from its spout at all foes in a mile radius. That’s some badass recycling.
Smash It Over the Bartender’s Head
If you find yourself watching a movie about a nearly invincible superspy, and he happens to be drinking a bottle of alcohol, you can bet that at some point, said bottle will find itself colliding with the cranium of someone who wishes your hero harm. It might be an evil scientist, a burly henchman, or even just a smart-mouthed bartender. Rest assured, where there are heads to be smashed, there are bottles raring to do the job.
James Bond Faces His Old (Now Evil) Frat Brother
Ah, the age-old story: a super secret agent finds that his old frat brother from his days pledging Sigma Beta Spy at Watching U has gone evil. Bond will come across his newly villainous old friend, and will be forced to do battle. Of course, the only appropriate way for two old frat brothers to really face off: chugging contest. The winner gets possession of the nuclear gamma ray and the love of Betsy the cheerleader. The loser: naked laps. In this case, a Heineken far surpasses a martini.
Debut a Martini-Flavored Version of Heineken
The classiest case imaginable: Heineken won’t make James Bond worse, James Bond will actually make Heineken better! Sure, a martini-flavored beer might sound a bit backwards, but are you going to tell Agent 007 that his own original drink doesn’t suit your fancy? No, you’ll take a swig of that olive-laden lager and smile. You’re a Bond now.