Shameless Act of Product Placement: James Bond Will Drink Heineken

Everyone's got their price. Apparently James Bond's is $45 million.
That's the rumored value of the marketing deal with Heineken that turns Daniel Craig's James Bond into a beer guy.

Vodka martinis have always been James Bond's signature drink. Ian Fleming assigned very specific traits and idiosyncrasies to Bond that are emblematic of the style and sophistication of the character he created. Along with 007's choice of martinis, famously served "shaken, but not stirred," there's his gambling (baccarat), guns (Beretta 418 or Walther PPK), attire (dinner jackets and Saville Row suits), and car (Aston Martin). In Skyfall, the next big-screen installment, the suave, lady-killing British spy will swap his cocktail shaker for a can opener.

There's nothing new about food and beverage product placement in movies and television shows. The origins of the practice go back to 1935's Curly Top; that's right, Shirley Temple was shilling for Nabisco when she sang 'Animal Crackers in my Soup.'

Product placement is inescapable in contemporary entertainment. Every scene is a potential merchandising opportunity. A sitcom family's got to eat, so why not have them eat a sponsored product? A marketer will pay a fee for its cereal box or soda to show up on the kitchen counter; more if it's in the foreground; less if it's only seen in profile. If you see "products provided by..." or "promotional consideration given to..." in the closing credits, you can bet that money changed hands.

Technology has even given rise to the virtual product placement. A different sponsor can be tapped when a movie hits the rental market or a television show is seen in syndication. The Friends gang never ate Oreos in its broadcast seasons, but you'll find them on Monica's kitchen table in reruns, and a 2006 episode of  How I Met Your Mother now shows the lead characters walking past a movie poster for the 2011 film Bad Teacher.

At its best, product placement feels like a natural extension of the character and plot line. At its worst, you get Agent 007 chugging a brewski.

Product placement is everywhere. Educate yourself at Product Placement News.

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