As brands get increasingly creative in how they partner with major movie studios, there’s one film franchise that’s long weaved a select number of products into the story. From cars and watches, to airlines and booze, James Bond has always been a brand-friendly man of action.
For the newest Bond film, Spectre, Belvedere vodka signed on as the official drink of 007. Ahead of the film’s November 6 global release, the brand’s mission is to capitalize on the partnership as much as possible, starting with a newly launched ad starring the latest Bondwoman, Stephanie Sigman. Here we see Sigman sidle up to the bar with a very familiar drink order, only to see it made with the classy spy version of a Rube Goldberg machine.
Belvedere is also launching a special edition 007 SPECTRE bottle, which will be available at retailers around the world starting this month, as well as another limited edition bottle dubbed The Belvedere Silver Saber, with only 3,000 numbered bottles. The brand will also be hosting private screenings in advance of the global premiere in markets around the world.
But what is the marketing value of slapping a 007 logo on the brand’s advertising and watching Daniel Craig order a Belvedere martini in the movie? Belvedere president Charles Gibb says a partnership with a film franchise as iconic as Bond will give the brand an unprecedented boost in global markets that it wouldn’t be able to achieve itself as quickly or effectively.
“Firstly, for any brand thinking about a partnership like this, you have to know your core objectives and what you’re trying to achieve,” says Gibb. “In Belvedere, we have a brand that is big in the U.S., and rapidly growing in the global market but we’re looking for a step-change in terms of awareness and reach on a global basis. And there is no greater global movie franchise than the Bond franchise. The release of Spectre this year is a cultural event in many, many countries, which allows us to put ourselves into culture on a global basis, as we wouldn’t have been able to in any other way. It’s such a global phenomenon that it allows us to reach that step-change in our marketing and awareness, and do so in a way that’s very authentic and true to the brand.”
As opposed to some past Bond vodka sponsors, with apologies to Smirnoff and Finlandia, Belvedere boasts a higher pedigree–or at least price point. Gibb says being the original luxury vodka makes the brand a natural fit for 007.
“I think Bond is a man of style, taste, and character, and he’s a man who knows the difference–he makes distinct choices in what he drinks, what he drives and what he wears, and those choices are universally respected and admired,” says Gibb. “Put that together with the core of expression of any vodka brand is really reflected in the vodka martini, because there’s nowhere for the vodka to hide. The vodka is laid bare. So if it’s a great tasting vodka, it’s a great martini. For us, this is a marriage made in heaven because, for one it helps us achieve our global expansion objective, and secondly relates absolutely to our core brand DNA.”
When it comes to negotiating the terms of a deal like this, Gibb says conversations between brands and producers in general have evolved over the years, going from tit-for-tat to a more collaborative approach.
“Today these types of partnerships are 100% about collaboration: What can we do for you? What can you do for us? How do we make this work so it works best for all of us?” says Gibb. “What we wanted to do is create a campaign that focused on the most obvious link between the two brands and really maximize the leverage of that. The conversations have moved away from ‘You do this and we’ll do that’ to something like ‘How do we make something great together?’ And that then becomes reflected in the work.”