In 2013, the producers of the 24th James Bond film, Spectre, were confronted with a difficult decision.
To help pay the bills on what would turn out to be the most expensive Bond film ever made, they were considering product placements — not an unusual situation in and of itself, as large companies were eager to pay millions to reach the massive, ready-made Bond audience, and filmmakers were eager for help advertising, as the huge costs of promoting films could rival those of producing them.
The decision to make came when Heineken came to them with an offer — a $100 million one. The company would cross-promote the film and their beer with a huge advertising campaign, and the beer would be featured in the movie. Unfortunately, Bond had received some backlash in the previous movie when he was seen drinking a Heineken, rather than his favorite martini.
With his looks, confidence, taste and daring, Bond was known for his own kind of cool — and a famous signature drink. Would emphasizing a partnership between the two global brands dilute Bond’s cool factor?
The producers might have considered three important elements of the cool formula: autonomy, the sense of independence and rebellion that prompts people to see things as cool; attitude, the effortless confidence that “cool” possesses; and the crucial ingredient of authenticity.
Read more about brand image, marketing strategy, and the art and science of designing and sustaining coolness in Darden Professor Lalin Anik’s article “A Marketing Derring-Do: James Bond Fancies a Heineken,” in the Darden School of Business/Washington Post “Case in Point” series.
The article is based on the case From Heineken With Love: James Bond Product Promotion (Darden Business Publishing), by Lalin Anik and Johnny Miles (MBA ’17).