007 – Building A Brand Legacy
With the upcoming premiere of the new James Bond movie Spectre I was struck by how this popular film franchise owes its success neither to conventional star power nor to its special effects. Rather, 007 has excelled through the years with a well-directed and fully formed understanding of its brand. Spectre will be the 24th Bond film to hit the box office and, no doubt, will show a further continuation of 007s’ championing formula of innovation and suave that has served it so well for over 50 years.
From Sean Connery – the original James Bond – to Daniel Craig – our current #ManCrushMonday – the brand of 007 has been defined by far more than the lead actor. The perfectly tailored tux, the meticulous drinks orders, the flashy cars, and the impossible escape scenes are all a part of the symbolism that creates 007. This allows the brand the flexibility to shift with the volatility of current trends; introducing new actors, advancing technology, and enhancing the action with ever more intense and realistic scenes. This is a fantastic masterclass in the ability of a brand to stretch itself across the years and still remain relevant today.
The Perfectly Tailored Tux
Looking good is recognized as an essential element of any brand and is an aspect that James Bond accomplishes effortlessly. 007 doesn’t just portray debonair and sophistication; it personifies them. In a design-conscious world where trends are constantly changing and evolving, the aura of Bond endures. Every one of the actors who has played James Bond has managed to use style as one of his weapons. Even the logo, designed by Joseph Caroff in 1962, has a smooth sexiness to its simplicity. A well-designed logo has the ability to become iconic when the brand it represents delivers outstanding quality consistently over a sustained period of time. The 007 brand has done just that and its logo has, thus, demonstrated its staying power since its first appearance in Dr No.
The Meticulous Drinks Orders & The Flashy Cars
Not only has 007 created a great brand in itself, but it also attracts other strong brands which ride on the back of its success. Ian Fleming’s original novels took a radical turn in the way that they defined their hero through the brands that he chose, and the 007 films have continued with this approach to their great advantage. You’ll be hard pressed to think of an Aston Martin, a vodka martini ‘shaken, not stirred’, and an Omega watch without recalling the classic character that these all have in common. However, the 007 movies are far from repetitive. From an Omega Seamaster to a Rolex Submariner to digital Seikos and Breitlings. From Aston Martin to BMW. From Smirnoff and Finlandia to Dom Perignon and Heineken. James Bond has worn some of the most famous watch brands, drunk some of the most formidable alcohol brands and driven some of the flashiest cars. And these will, be no means, be the last of the brands to take advantage of the image of 007. As Belvedere CEO Charles Gibb has said; “There is no better way to talk to a global audience than through a global man of distinction, an icon.”
The Impossible Escape Scenes
The brand of 007 has become a cultural phenomenon, affecting not only box office sales and the shares values of partnered brands, but also the wider multi-media hub. Who could forget Daniel Craig, as James Bond, escorting her Majesty to the 2012 Olympics in a daring short movie by Danny Boyle. The image of the Queen parachuting her way to the Olympic stadium is one that was sure to delight social media consumers as ‘James Bond’ and ‘#Skyfall’ continued to trend across Twitter throughout 2012. The power of 007 here to seize the moment for maximum brand exposure was nothing short of genius as the Olympics opening ceremony was watched by almost 900 million people worldwide.
The character of James Bond was brought to life by Ian Flemming over 60 years ago but the movies remain current, innovative and fresh. While the character, technology, story and environment may constantly change, the essence of the 007 brand never has. While many classic characters encourage us to look into the past – thinking about who has been the best Bond actor of all time – the debate right now has turned, instead, to who will be the next James Bond. I have heard several names thrown around: Damien Lewis, Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba and Tom Hardy (yes please!) but the answer remains a mystery. Who will be the next actor to carry the weight of the 007 legacy?