The Powerful James Bond Brand – EP14

 James Bond is celebrating its 60th anniversary. This podcast explores how brands should capitalize on this crucial moment. The right approach is essential.

You can find this podcast episode on major podcast platforms: SpotifyApple PodcastsiHeartMediaAmazon MusicGoogle Podcasts, and Anchor.


James Bond is an iconic brand that needs no introduction. The spy agent with a taste for danger is a fictional character created by British novelist Ian Fleming in 1953.

The movie series started with Dr. No (1962) features twenty-seven productions with actors Sean Connery, David Niven, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig portraying the titled characters. In total, these movies grossed more than US$7.6 billion (not adjusted for inflation).

With a loyal fanbase, many brands are eager to tap into the series’ potential by obtaining product licensing deals. Unfortunately, they do not always generate positive results.


Introduction – Bond, My Name Is James Bond

Hi, this is Retail Mashup. I’m Larry, I’m DeAnn. Retail Mashup is a podcast that talks about retail customer experience. We think about the successes, these challenges, and about the angle of revenue generation in the industry. And today I wanna talk a little bit about anniversaries, more specifically how brands can build a better customer experience, thus drawing in customers and maybe making more money.

I have a few examples. One of them is James Bond. I don’t know if you know Deanne James Bond is celebrating 60 years. I have been watching James Bond movies since I was a kid and I cannot believe it’s already 60 years old. And as we know, James Bond is like a “dry martini”.

James Bond clip from Casino Royale (all rights reserved)

Shaken, Not Stirred – Brand Alignment

So if you were shaken, not stirred, shaken, not stirred. So, With that said, you would imagine that if you are an alcohol manufacturer and want to use this occasion to celebrate your brand and your product, you want to be closely aligned with the ingredients of a martini.

Now, I do not believe whiskey or rum is in the martini unless I’m wrong. Recently, I’ve seen a brand that would do a limited batch of whiskey to celebrate 60 years. Although it sounds like a great idea, I ask myself, is this the perfect way to showcase your product that may not closely align with the brand?

This particular way of using anniversaries to showcase your brand is nothing new. Many brands do it countries do it to celebrate, say, 150 years, or 200 years in history. But I worry that Certain brands can dilute themselves. Say James Bond can dilute themselves if they work with many partnerships that may not be closely aligned to who they are, the identity, in this case, James Bond, and what he’s known for.

Case Study – Aston Martin

If we think of another example, James Bond is known for driving Aston Martin in many movies. And so if you are another car brand, yeah, I’d like to be known for that. Right. If you are another car brand, yeah. That is not Aston Martin. Then you have to ask yourself, is it worthwhile to celebrate James Bond when that’s not where the relationship is, where the association comes from?

Astin Martin and James Bond’s relationship over the years (All Rights Reserved)

The Discussion

So I’d love to get your thoughts on this.

Well, this is one. The secret is in the execution. So I do think there’s a lot to what you’re saying in that if you stray too far from the substance of the subject, for example, if you’re a tequila manufacturer, are people going to appreciate you trying to jump on James Bond bandwagon?

Will you be perceived as a hanger in trying to take advantage? Or can you flip that script a little bit and use it to kind of tongue in cheek, make fun of yourself, and have your customers laughing with you?

One example that I thought was done very well oddly enough, was Peloton, where a couple of times, it took an ad that kind of denigrated something. I think in one case it was in Sex and the City main male character died after doing a Peloton workout. So Peloton took that and created a segue ad that kind of showed him in the next life with another woman.

He was in shape because of the Peloton, so we had a younger woman with him or something. I think it made people talk, it made them laugh and it made them feel a little bit more favorable for Peloton.

So, It can be done in a way that is, you know, James Bond going up to the bar and ordering as usual, and they’re out.

They don’t have martinis. They give him a tequila, he drinks it, and he actually likes it better. Now he has a new drink. It can be done in a way that is fun and entertaining rather than in a negative light.

Or it could just look fake and inauthentic. So you have to be careful there.

The fine line between staying authentic about who you are what your brand is about, who your customers are, and how you are engaging them. I love everything you said because when I presented the case, I specifically called out alignment and true alignment, but we don’t always get true alignment.

And if you are able to elevate, the intellectual property and work with the James Bond brand and see how far you can push other ideas, maybe there would be some new products and surfaces that people didn’t think of that give them the same feeling of what James Bond would require.

Then maybe that could work, because let’s face it, maybe the Aston Martin, the car doesn’t always exist, so perhaps James Bond has to take an Uber somewhere. So wouldn’t it be funny to see that in a commercial where James Mon could not summon his car, that he has to get an Uber, and then that could be a little black car or James Bond’s car on the app?

A future Uber and James Bond collaboration? Why not?

And the next thing you know the Uber car shows up to take James Bond wherever he needs to go. Or wherever she wants to go. They may not have to be a guy. So, I find that I find that type of example interesting. I think brands. On the one hand, should be very careful in staying true and understand the brand really well so that they are not straying too far. But also be able to be creative and work with the brand owners in coming up with new ideas to bring in a new demographic.

People may like dry martinis long ago, but today people like tequila and so having James Bond skip the dry martini and move on to tequila makes a lot of sense to me Actually.

Well, they could do a whole campaign. I mean, James Bond died in the last movie, and we’re all wondering who’s gonna be next.

Well, maybe whoever’s next, we can all try to speculate on what their drink will be, because James is gone. It’s a, it’s a new drink out there somewhere. I think we should be writing for the movies, we should be writing scripts.

If an alcohol brand or a movie studio is looking for ideas, incorporating branding and engagement, and customer experience, you should call us.

Yeah, whiskey Sours and Ubers in the next James Bond. That’s what we need. There you go.

So this is the end of another amazing episode. If you like this podcast please subscribe and we will talk to you next.

* We made some modifications to the transcript to improve understandability and flow

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