Quantum of Solace: Branding James Bond Picture

Some of the brands in the new James Bond picture, “Quantum of Solace,” will be familiar from their presence in “Casino Royale.” Expect to see Ford Motor Co., Heineken beer, Smirnoff vodka, Omega watches, Virgin Atlantic, Sony Ericsson cell phones and other Sony electronics.

These brands have products placed in the film and each will bring much money as the film’s promotional partners.

Sony Pictures, which is distribbing the movie, didn’t disclose how much the brands are paying up, but according to various sources, returning partners spent up to $100 million worldwide on ads around “Casino Royale,” and similar amount is expected this time around.

Daniel Craig, who reprises his role as 007, won’t be the sole face to promote the products. Bond girl Olga Kurylenko, who plays 007 ally Camille, will promote Heineken beer and the latest version of Ford’s small European car, the Ka. The 22nd film in the franchise will mark the fifth time that the beer company has promoted a Bond adventure.

The redesigned version of the Ka will roll out in European dealerships aroun November 7, 2008. A special edition “Solace”-themed Ka will be sold that features metallic gold paint and exterior graphics. Ford is spending most of its movie tie-in money in Europe.

Sony Ericsson will release a limited edition Titanium Silver C902 Cyber-shot phone, also seen in the film, around the release of the movie. Company’s products appeared in the previous two outings.

Virgin Atlantic began its relationship with Bond’s producers with “Casino Royale,” in which the airline’s planes were shown and company president Richard Branson had a cameo.

The Bond franchise has been a magnet for marketers looking to associate their wares with a character who favors high-end products. It has proved so valuable that brands have returned to the films year after year.

Smirnoff vodka made its original appearance in Bond’s first outing, 1962’s “Dr. No.”

Sony and the franchise’s EON Prods. have limited the number of promotion partners to seven, the same as for “Casino Royale.” The 2002 Bond installment “Die Another Day” was packed with 20 tie-ins, which led critics to dub it, “Buy Another Day.”

Fewer deals enable the brands to stand out more and keep marketers happy, especially when they’re ponying up millions of dollars to tout their association with 007. Studios are happy to keep partners pleased considering that the dollars they’re spending often double a pic’s marketing budget and expand the reach of a film’s campaign.

Brand-backed campaigns will include TV, print, radio, online and other advertising in 40 countries. They will start rolling out in October, a month before the movie’s wide release.