Back in 2015, Time Out asked Daniel Craig if he could imagine doing another Bond movie, and the actor said he’d “rather break this glass and slash my wrists.”
Now both Craig and Bond are back for the actor’s fifth—and last—outing as 007 in No Time to Die, and Heineken decided to have a little fun with Craig becoming forever associated with the franchise.
Heineken has been a major sponsor of Bond since 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, using a combination of not-so-subtle product placement and massive global marketing campaigns to make sure we all know that even though James Bond doesn’t always drink beer, when he does, he reaches for the familiar green bottle.
As brand movie partnerships go, it could be much worse. Heineken is like the Euro-Budweiser, not high-end enough to be totally convincing but ubiquitous enough to be believable. At least more than say, if Natty Light wanted to sponsor 007.
Hans Erik Tuijt, director of global Heineken sponsorships, says the long-time relationship has been a win for the brand, and it’s that consistency that has created a virtuous cycle. Every time the brand would sponsor another Bond film, the stronger its association with 007 would be to consumers. It may sound ridiculous that anyone would order a Heineken because a fictional secret agent does, but tell that to the martini and the Omega watch people.
“If you look at our executions through the years, you can see we’re getting better at it,” says Tuijt. “There’s also the repetition there, so the audience makes that connection, and each time you’re building on a base that’s already there.”
The company is quite loyal to its sponsorship partners. Erik cites long-time associations with UEFA Champions League as an example in sports. “But Bond is a different animal in our sponsorship profile. Because the films don’t come out in regular intervals, there isn’t the same drumbeat like an annual competition like Formula One,” says Tuijt. “But we do know what works and what doesn’t with the Bond franchise.”
It’s also the first film in the franchise since the brewer’s bajillion-dollar launch of Heineken 0.0, and it’d be a marketing miracle if anyone believes James Bond would order a non-alcoholic beer—on duty or not. But still.
Ultimately, blockbuster movie franchises have become major marketing machines, and we all know and expect the unending rollout of car, fast food, toothpaste, toy, and booze ads to trail them like so many Bond henchmen. Over the last eight 007 films, Heineken’s ads could be best described as corny to cornier.
However for Craig’s swan song, we get a wink-wink that’s actually entertaining, and worth watching if only for his stop-and-wheeze while running.
We don’t know who’ll take over the James Bond name next, but odds are they’ll be holding a green bottle. Wonder what kind of beer Benoit Blanc drinks?
Check out the seven other ads in Heineken’s Bond beer franchise below:
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
The World Is Not Enough (1999)
Die Another Day (2002)
Casino Royale (2006)
Quantum of Solace (2008)