Oct. 4 - As James Bond celebrates its 50th anniversary, Reuters looks at the brands which have benefited from one of the world's most successful and longest-running film franchises. Ivor Bennett reports.
Swarve, smart and sophisticated - when it comes to James Bond, image is everything. What he wears, what he drinks, especially, what he drives. 50 vehicles from the Bond films are on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu to mark the franchise's half century. And it's clear 007 has always travelled in style. SOUNDBITE (English) REUTERS REPORTER IVOR BENNETT, SAYING: "Bond's car may've changed over the years - from Roger Moore's Lotus in the spy who Loved me, to Pierce Brosnan's BMW in Tomorrow Never dies, and of course...Daniel Craig's latest Aston Martin in Quantum of Solace. But no matter what the brand is, or how damaged the car is, they all seem to say the same thing." Paul Webb's the exhibition supervisor. SOUNDBITE (English) BEAULIEU NATIONAL MOTOR MUSEUM SUPERVISOR PAUL WEBB, SAYING: "It shows that he is obviously a very sophisticated man. He won't go round in anything that's below what he might consider is his life style. Hence he does have you might say the iconic car or the car that most men in the world would like to drive let alone own. And it suits his image." What the villain drives is also carefully chosen - but long-gone are the days of Goldfinger's Rolls Royce. Car chases are a key Bond-film component, and the bad guys' car rarely survives. Brand Finance CEO David Haigh says that's no coincidence. SOUNDBITE (English) BRAND FINANCE PLC CEO, DAVID HAIGH, SAYING: "In the Bond films, Tomorrow Never Dies I think it was Bond drove a BMW, and the bad guys drove a Mercedes. and of course the Mercedes ended up going over a cliff. so product placement is not only positive but sometime product placement agents pay the film to have the wrong guy using the other product. So it's become very sophisticated in the way that they actually do it to favour their products." New release Skyfall sees Aston Martin back in the driving seat. But a raft of product placement deals means new brands are featured too. Known for his Vodka Martinis and the odd bottle of Bollinger, the spy's drink of choice is now Heineken beer. An image that's left many 007 fans shaken AND stirred. SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MUSEUM VISITOR, SAYING: "Well he's the Martini man isn't he, shaken not stirred" SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MUSEUM VISITOR, SAYING: "I would say that vodka martini was always the, that was his kind of one-liner really wasn't it?" SOUNDBITE (English) UNIDENTIFIED MUSEUM VISITOR, SAYING: "Oh yes, more Martini, yes definitely." As part of the tie-up, Heineken's launched a Skyfall-themed advertising campaign, with Daniel Craig again beer-in-hand. Bond film producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G Wilson insist the deal doesn't contradict 007's image. (SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) PRODUCERS BARBARA BROCCOLI AND MICHAEL G. WILSON, SAYING: BROCCOLI: "He likes to drink." WILSON: "And, you know, it depends on the circumstances what he drinks. He drinks what's appropriate for the circumstances he's in." Skyfall's product placement deals are reportedly worth 45 million dollars - with Sony, Swarovski and fashion designer Tom Ford all involved. For the moment, the film franchise is the second most successful of all time behind Harry Potter. Grossing over 5 billion dollars in revenues since 1962, James Bond clearly has a license to sell. Ivor Bennett Reuters