22 February 2018

Why the SPECTRE marketing campaign was not enough

22 February 2018

Why the SPECTRE marketing campaign was not enough

SPECTRE's poster: a far cry from the The Living Daylights'glorious art

The 23rd entry to the James Bond canon, Skyfall, pretty much marketed itself. Released in 2012, it coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Bond films and the London Summer Olympics. None other than James Bond himself appeared at the opening ceremony in the guise of Daniel Craig.

The euphoria surrounding Dr. No's 50th anniversary and the Olympics kicked off Skyfall's marketing campaign.

James Bond collects Her Majesty The Queen from her Buckingham Palace study. They're over London in a helicopter as classical anthems synonymous with Britain's greatness belt out. As the aircraft is perfectly poised over the London Stadium, Elizabeth II jumps.

A Union Jack parachute and the iconic James Bond theme burst into life, and everyone naturally goes wild. Does it get any more British than that?

It was enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up: a stroke of marketing genius by the Olympic Committee and James Bond studio. It was one of several great nods to past Bond films we saw that year. This one was in honour of 1977's The Spy Who Loved Me.

The studio had to think smarter for 2015's SPECTRE, the 24th Eon Productions Bond film. They say that 'no publicity is bad publicity'. Whether Daniel Craig's comments that he'd "rather slash his wrists than make another Bond film" resulted in more bums on cinema seats is still unknown.

His comments sparked a backlash from mental health campaigners and fans who felt he wasn't grateful enough. After all, kissing some of the most stunning-looking women, driving the most beautiful Aston Martins, wearing the sharpest (and tightest) Tom Ford suits, plus earning reportedly £50 million per film sounds like pretty nice work, if you can get it.

In the teaser poster for SPECTRE, we saw another clever nod, this time to 1973's Live and Let Die. Daniel Craig donned a black turtleneck and gun holster, just like Roger Moore did when he destroyed Dr. Kananga's opium poppy fields.

Although the teaser poster and trailer were atmospheric, the film's poster failed to meet these standards. It seemed lazy, uninspiring and dull.

The artwork (and I use that term loosely) featured Bond girl Léa Seydoux and Daniel Craig. Bond wore a white tux (a throwback to Sean Connery's outfit in Goldfinger), with little going on around the couple. A poster that looks like it could have been knocked up in thirty minutes by anyone with intermediate Photoshop skills, I'm afraid to say.

What happened to the lush posters, magnificently rich in colour, used to market Bond films until The Living Daylights in 1987? It's another gripe with fans, often leading them to purchase fan art rather than the real thing.

Among fans' other gripes was product placement. We all know this has been part and parcel of Bond films since Moonraker in 1979. A villainous character crashing through an air stewardess's mouth on a British Airways billboard in Rio was a sign of things to come.

While this product placement may have been more humorous than irritating, recent ones have been real groaners.

See: Daniel Craig's awkward and shoehorned-in line 'Omega' when questioned on the make of his watch in Casino Royale. And the overly long shot of Bond's Omega in Skyfall's pre-titles sequence.

Leading up to SPECTRE's release, you couldn't walk past an advertisement hoarding without Heineken and James Bond being mentioned in the same breath.

It was undoubtedly commercially beneficial to Heineken to suggest James Bond drinks its beer. Still, it added a certain aura of tackiness to the SPECTRE marketing campaign for product placement to be glaringly obvious. Product placement should never precede a film's promotion.

The SPECTRE marketing trail featured some wonderful nods back to past films to get the nostalgia pumping through the veins of avid fans. But it just wasn't enough to spark an influx of the next generation of Bond fans.

Copyright © 2018 J W Emery Ltd. All rights reserved.

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