Branded to kill
So, yes, I saw Casino Royale at the weekend along with millions of others in sold-out cinemas across London. And, to quench your water-cooler gossip thirst, Daniel Craig more than lives up to the fawning critics: he is the man. Craig adds grit and gone-postal anger to the post-bouffant Brosnan, metrosexual Bond. That coupled with a (here declared) uncanny resemblance to the notorious Hollywood bad boy, Christian Slater, seals his fate as 007 for years to come (Amen, sister!).
And the tills are alive with the sound of money. Feverish hordes at the local Odeon last night over-burdened the ticket machines wreaking queue chaos and affording me time to survey the crowd of giddy, Bond enthusiasts. And from Northwest London's Yamaka touting teenagers to middle-class couples from the local Afro-Caribbean community, there was no obvious demographic denominator. Surely, that is the ultimate kiss of death for any brand. That is, unless, you are British and the product is 007.
Bond the brand deals in the most potent of currencies: sex, money, power, and death. Yet, I can't help but look at the brand from an outsider's perspective: an American-raised female more interested in Topshop than Top Gear. And from such a distance, I see Bond fulfilling an underlying consumer need that is partly about Britain's place in today's world. Bond leads you to believe that Britain has the best cars in the world (nevermind that the country lacks a car industry), leads the globe in technology (who rates Asia, really?) is equipped with unparalled secret intelligence (shame Bin Laden is still at play), and has the best looking man the world over with foreign women falling at his feet.
Now I love London, and by extension Britain; but, I can't help but feel that as Britain becomes weaker, Britons demand for what Bond represents becomes stronger. As the world stage continues to move on from Britain (and the West); the need for Bond's symbolism is growing, not diminishing. Now that really is a brand to kill for.
And for those more after buff than huff, you can find a Bond themed experience at: The Spa at Chancery Court which has recently launched a 'Moonraker Massage' and '007 Manicure', perfect for putting your inner Bond girl in the lime light. The ‘Moonraker’ lasts 1 hour and 25 minutes and costs £115. The ‘007 Manicure’ lasts 55 minutes and costs £55.