Bond. James Bond.
Thanks to his many onscreen incarnations, Ian Fleming’s suave, sophisticated and deadly super-spy is one of the UK’s most kickass cultural ambassadors.
Whereas 007’s derring-do is motivated by Queen and country, movie studios have always kept profits squarely in their gunsights. Starting with the very first Bond flick, 1962’s Dr. No, co-producers Harry Saltzman and Cubby Broccoli became industry pioneers — launching not only beloved blockbusters, but the less popular practice of product placement. When Bond lathered up to shave in Goldfinger, he used a Gillette razor; his CIA pal Felix Leiter hawked KFC in Thunderball and Marlboro cigarettes financed much of Moonraker.
Skyfall, the latest big-screen Bond outing, is no exception. A $44-million Heineken tie-in that sees Daniel Craig swig Dutch beer in lieu of a chilled martini has shaken diehard fans. But as a kid who shamelessly played his estranged parents off each other to get 8-inch diecasts of both the Aston Martin GB5 from Goldfinger and the Lotus Esprit S1 from The Spy Who Loved Me, I understand that in life, as in espionage, unsavoury deals must sometimes be made to get the job done.
That said, here’s a look at some of more deadly and dapper Bond tie-ins associated with Skyfall, opening in North American theatres Friday.
Look, Bond not drinking his signature martini has precedent. He’s quaffed a mint julep (Goldfinger), a stinger (Diamonds are Forever) and, yes, the douche bag drink of choice, a mojito (Die Another Day). 007 even sipped a Red Stripe beer in Dr. No. This whole “sacrilege” thing against Heineken seems a little overblown, but there is something a bit mercenary about the Dutch brewery financing one third of Skyfall’s budget for some big-screen bottle stroking. Even more unforgiveable is this ad by the movie’s director, Sam Mendes, and featuring a cameo by Daniel Craig.
Bollinger 002 to 007
“Bolly” received a Royal Warrant as official purveyor of Champagne to the English Crown in 1884 from Queen Victoria. What would Her Majesty would think of the Special Edition Champagne Bollinger 002 to 007 Box, a 750ml, 2002 Brut tarted up inside a silencer-shaped cylinder with a combination lock? The code is, naturally, “007.”
Globe-Trotter James Bond for Skyfall
The most exclusive special edition in the English luggage maker’s 115-year history, only 100 of the Globe-Trotter Stabilist Aluminium case were made. Based on the sniper case Bond uses in the film, the 26″ aluminium suitcase has been formed by hand in England, and features a telescopic sight handle (like in the movie), a diamond quilted Alcantara lining and a commemorative internal plaque (£5,000). If you’re not on a government expense account, the James Bond Centenary Special Edition is handcrafted from Vulcanised Fibreboard at Globe-Trotter’s Hertfordshire factory on original Victorian machinery. 18” attaché, $1,745; 21” cabin trolley, $1,985 at Betty Hemmings.
Great Britain’s top spy hasn’t worn anything British for nearly 20 years. In 1995 Italian suitmaker Brioni began outfitting Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond and continued for Daniel Craig’s reboot in Casino Royale. Then celebrity American designer Tom Ford took over, kitting 007 out for Quantum of Solace and Skyfall. Ford’s O’Connor tux in midnight blue with a black satin shawl collar has revived interest in dark blue evening wear — invented, incidentally, by a young Edward Prince of Wales, who disliked the green undertones of black dyes in the 1920s. $4,695 at Tom Ford boutiques, Harry Rosen in Montreal, Toronto and Calgary. Available in Vancouver at Tom Ford boutique, Holt Renfrew.
Omega Classic Seamaster Co-Axial 300m
In case you missed that awkward moment in Casino Royale when Bond “casually mentions” his preferred watch brand, know that since GoldenEye in 1995, 007 has worn an Omega Seamaster 300m. The limited edition (only 11,007 made) James Bond 007 50th Anniversary Collector’s Piece is stainless steel and features a lacquered black dial with the 007 monogram and number “50” in red. Fancy, that. $5,000 at Omega Boutique Hotel Vancouver; Royal De Versailles Toronto; Brinkhaus Jewellers Calgary; Chateau D’Ivoire Montreal.
A bit player in a few Brosnan-era films (an especially dark time when BMW practically owned the franchise and Bond drove my mom’s 750iL) as well as both previous Craig outings, the iconic silver Aston Martin DB5 returns with special mods and gadgets not seen since Goldfinger. The famous ejector seat is hinted at but never demonstrated, but the twin front-firing machine guns are back a’blazing. Uh, it costs a lot.
*SPOILER ALERT* The car’s fate in Skyfall leaves the road open for a new sponsor if Aston Martin doesn’t pony up enough cash for the next movie.