Monday, November 20, 2006

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.


Anonymous Claire said...

Wow indeed they do look alike! Glad you liked the blond Bond. Was starting to get peeved with everyone talking him down just because it wasn't what they saw before. He is such a talented actor. I loved up in our Friends from the North. They have beautified him since then it looks like.

3:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel Craig is my new favorite British Actor.
Doesn't he just remind you of Sean Connery when he first started out as 'Bond'?

Can't wait to see it. No chance of getting in at the weekend sadly...

3:28 pm  
Anonymous Steve said...

The main thing about the Bond brand is product placement.
Okay you have seen the film...what kind of watch does Bond wear? OMEGA? See, done.
Preferred vodka? SMIRNOFF? Again. And the list goes in to include even FORD.

That is the underlying value.

3:34 pm  
Anonymous honkman said...

And to go on from that are all the companies that have major tie-ins with Bond like Heineken.

All quite clever really. And Bond doesnt even drink beer does he but they still cash in on it?

3:37 pm  
Anonymous max said...

My favourite is the Sony Vaio ad suggesting you 'equip yourself like Bond' (double entendre surely intended). The ad uses footage of Bond with his machine - blogging perhaps? - then cuts to a shot of that Italian girl pouting approvingly. I mean, obviously the man would have a Blackberry. It's almost as bad as the Lamborghini laptop I saw in Tottenham Ct Road the other day ... but that's another story.

4:00 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

Yes the Vaio abuse was annoying. But maybe not if he was using it to write a comment on City Slicker :-)

4:04 pm  
Anonymous Ella said...

I think they keep a rather strict eye over the brand. They have maintained glamour over the years and had clear imagery. You cant avoid some parts of marketing I am afraid.

4:30 pm  
Anonymous Dee said...

Never spotted the resemblence before. Good one Slicky!

Looking forward to seeing the new Bond. Product placement doesn't really bother me. And it cant be worse than Mission Impossible on that one.

4:36 pm  
Anonymous HeartyBowl said...

Very interesting basically the shittier Britain becomes, the more we need Bond?

I like it...

4:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So is Bond the last British export?

4:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A least Bond never sinks to the lowest common denominator by showing up on YouTube and MySpace etc.

But I dont see Craig's physical appeal - in my book he is about as HOT as Borat.

5:11 pm  
Anonymous Samson said...

The danger is damage to the brand by association with the wrong product. Like the Wayne's WOrld movies something can turn uncool very quickly. That is the risk.

5:32 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to lower the tone but how incredibly hunky is Daniel Craig? So good too that now he is known for more than just having a fling with Sienna behidn Jude's back!

5:46 pm  
Blogger Steve On Broadway (SOB) said...


This marked my very first Bond experience, and if this is what the franchise is all about, it won't be my last. I loved this movie - the plot, the acting, the humour, the scenery and even Sir Richard Branson's quick miss-him-if-you-blink cameo (which presaged his very large and obvious Virgin Atlantic product placements).

As for British exports, I also took another great one in "The Queen" over the weekend. It made me ponder what you and your readers must have thought of its less than flattering depiction of the royals.

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Ted Hamming said...

He is the next Steve McQueen. He has McQueen's way of dominating without bullying. He's also handsome in a rugged way, thin and strong. Now McQueen cast as Bond - that would be something.

Look forward to seeing it myself!

Keep blogging CS, always a pleasure to read.

5:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Four years ago James Bond casting director Debbie McWilliams - who is working on the new film Casino Royale - said in an interview Bond had to be "devastatingly handsome, incredibly fit and available".

Hmmm, yeah he think he deserves the part.

Get over the blond hair already :-)

5:51 pm  
Anonymous fashionistawhore said...

Ohhh the Moonraker massage sounds delightful.
Where dis you hear of this?

6:10 pm  
Anonymous Sheila Jaston said...

If, like me, you love Bond movies, I highly, highly recommend it. Daniel Craig is about as perfect as they come and the movie is done so well. It has the humor of the Bond flicks, but feels modern. It is very entertaining and they didn't skimp because the movie is 2.5 hours. Fantastic!


6:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My son just watched From Russia With Love this past weekend. The world of Bond will never change no matter who inhabits it. As much as society pressures us to do more and adapt there are elements of the backdrop that always remain. In Bond We Trust!

7:17 pm  
Blogger City Slicker said...

SOB - The Queen was well received here by all accounts. Helen Mirren was brilliant and more than that I think people responded to the reflection of the mood of Britain at that moment in history. I was living in NYC at the time, but friends here say that the mood of the film matched the hysteria and emotional purging surrounding Diana's death. A quiver in the stiff upper lip, I suppose.

7:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Powerful argument?

But how does Bond go down in Asia these days? Anybody know?

7:51 pm  
Blogger ems said...

Very perceptive comments there, CS. Think you may be onto something.

8:53 pm  
Anonymous Stan said...

Agree interesting thoughts here BUT is Bond the last British brand? What about British Airways? Over to the reader's jury?

8:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BA is well over. The travesty is always was finally came to the public's eye.

9:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry but am I the only one brave enough to admit that Daniel Craig is a fine Bond but there is no way that he is as attractive as Brosnan or as you would expect from James Bond. He looks very hard and broken. Handsome not. Just be honest. You don't need to jump the media bandwagon :-(

12:17 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed he is nothing

Hard face

Lets hope it is a one hit wonder

12:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh, I like the sound of the Moonraker! May have to splurge.

Good tips

12:09 pm  
Anonymous CityGent said...

ted got it right - he's Steve McQueen in Great Escape rather than a Bond. Too rugged and not suave and sophisticated enough.
Great film, but he isn't a true Bond.

Oh and if CitySlicker could tell me of those oh so many great US brands I'd be very grateful...

12:38 pm  
Anonymous Jean said...

Sadly Citygent America is the world's global brand.

From Coca-Cola to Walmart (aka Asda) to AOL. Eat your heart out :-)

But good effort!

12:42 pm  
Anonymous Francine said...

Not suave and sophisticated enough? Sorry I guess Hugh Grant was unavailable.

1:30 pm  
Anonymous Tanya said...

If Daneil Craig is so goregous, why is his girlfriend so NOT
check her out here:
Sutsuki Mitchell

3:15 pm  
Anonymous citygent said...

You mean the same Coca-Cola who murdered their workers in Sth America?

And Walmart is such a gloabl brand they stuck to using 'Asda' in the UK.

And AOL? Dont make me laugh.

Its only the US and its people who see the US as the world's global brand, and everyone else's as nothing. Maybe thats why everyone has the opinion of them they do....

7:10 pm  
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