Product Placements: Why does Bond now drink Heineken instead of a Martini?
Many of the drinks brands that get screen time in movies, music videos, or TV shows, appear not out of a freely made creative choice, but because executives have paid a great deal of money to have them appear.
In Bond’s most recent movie Skyfall, his new favourite tipple is an interesting example of this.
Heineken parted with $45 million (covering close to a third of the movie’s entire production budget) for the honour of having Bond sip from a Heineken.
According to the current Bond, Daniel Craig, the film would probably not have been made without this money.
This is a growing type of marketing, and many big budget films are now becoming dependent on this kind of commercial relationship to cover their costs.
It is also something that people are far less conscious of (and perhaps less guarded against) compared with traditional TV commercials and billboards.
This is not inconsequential. Studies have strongly linked alcohol scenes in movies with binge drinking, finding that children who regularly watch movies with drinking scenes are twice as likely to begin drinking, and 63% more likely to then move to binge drinking.
As the study points out, alcohol use in movies is almost always shown in positive situations, without any negative effects, and usually in ways where the characters seen drinking are popular, successful characters that the audience can easily identify with.
Watching a suave, cool, tough character like Bond sip from a Heineken can, in other words, have a much more powerful effect on our thoughts about drinking Heineken than a typical billboard advert; which is why the company are happy to spend such an enormous amount of money on the deal.
Does this matter? What do you think?
*Image by Olly