James Bond has always been intimately linked with the notion of product placement. All the way back to Ian Fleming’s original books, where the character’s glamour came from a sense of post-War expense account affluence, there are certain brand names with which Bond is naturally associated: his Aston Martin (or Bentley in the books), his Martinis, Omega Seamaster watch, Savile Row suits, etc.
The films have generally used this facet of the character intelligently, but there have been slip-ups: think of Casino Royale‘s egregious drive to the Ocean Club in a Ford Mondeo, or garishly obvious use of Sony-made everything. The upcoming Bond 23 looks like it may run the risk of pushing those limits again, with the news that a record $45m, estimated at one-third of the film’s total budget, will be sourced through product placement. To put that in context, the previous record was held by Minority Report at $20m.
As I said, a degree of product placement naturally comes with the character, though the more recent films have a mixed record of integrating its sponsors as effortlessly into the background as they should. Having such a vast swath of the Bond 23 budget come from such funding can’t help but raise worries that we’re going to be getting an awful lot more facepalm-worthy conversations about watches.[The Australian, via MI6]