James Bond the Brand staying relevant after 50 years

How do you keep a 50 year old character fresh to a jaded audience?  A great example is Ian Fleming‘s James Bond who’s celebrating Fifty Years as the world’s favorite spy.   They have kept this character fresh with updating the character to keep him current with reboots starring new actors that personify the character.  They also embrace technology not simply in the film but also how they marked James Bond 007.  Everything from online contests, brand tie ins, unique theme songs for each film and always keeping the core of the character brand (a debonaire, sexy, man of mystery).  They are releasing the newest film Skyfall starring Daniel Craig this year to keep the momentum of the celebration at a fever pitch as well as auctioning original posters of the series this December 15 – 16, 2012 with Profiles in History.  In addition to build excitement in the 007 character earlier this year they held a contest using twitter to tie brands that will be in the new film.

Skyfall Poster

Brands that include Heineken, Aston Martin, Adele singing the theme song ‘Skyfall‘ and Coke Zero have incorporated the character with advertising tieing into the new film.  One of the things that I’ve noticed when viewing classic James Bond films vs current (from the last ten years) is the sheer volume of product placement that have gone from subtle to almost jarring in their distraction.  Of course this is the way that studios defray the cost of making films but as a consumer, advertising affenciado and a movie fan I miss the days of yore where the price of admission kept movies from being 90 minute commercials.  I am very curious how they will use Coke Zero and Heineken considering the James Bond I grew up with was all about a ‘shaken not stirred Martini’ but when it comes down to our tech world I expect one day to be able to touch a screen to purchase items while watching a 3D film.  Of course you have to admire a series that was able to leap from the page to film and remain on

Idris Elba

top with incarnations of tongue in cheek humor to the current serious action drama.  This is a brand that always is looking to the future to stay relevant and popular.  I wonder how far they plan out the character if it’s in increments of ten years?  What changes will they bring to a world with a changing ethnic demographic and who will be the arch-nemesis that keeps up with society.  I wonder who will be cast as the next James Bond once Daniel Craig decides to hang up his gun? Will the character remain a serious action hero or will they go for someone able to add a touch of humor to some of the over the top lines?  So many great actors would be appealing Benedict Cumberbatchthat would expand the brand beyond the current base for instance Idris Elba would be the perfect blend of urbane, sexy, tough with a sensitive edge or Benedict Cumberbatch if Daniel stays on for ten more years.  But like many fans of this series I’ll be sticking around to see what mayhem 007 will wrought in defense of the Queen, God and Country!

 

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