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Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 16:24 GMT



UK

Bond: Nobody sells it better
image: [ 007: He drinks Smirnoff, she drinks Bollinger ]
007: He drinks Smirnoff, she drinks Bollinger

Bond is back in his latest adventure, Tomorrow Never Dies, a tale of lethal media power which hits the big screen next week.

The plot, which introduces media mogul and twisted psychopath Elliot Carver, is a marketing dream, involving global telecommunications networks, computer sabotage, elegant diplomatic soirées and the inevitable high-octane car chases.


[ image: Q:
Q: "Your new BMW 750. All the usual refinements"
Alongside Pierce Brosnan as Bond and Teri Hatcher as femme fatale Paris Carver, a host of products have starring roles in the film, at a total cost of £20m to the manufacturers.

These days, Bond has just as much as a licence to sell as to kill: Tomorrow Never Dies features more product placements than any other Bond film to date.

Companies such as BMW, Ericsson mobile phones, Avis car hire and Bollinger champagne have paid vast sums to have their products featured.

The most curious placement is Heineken lager, which appears in one scene neither shaken nor stirred.

Paul Andrews, of BMW, explained the value of Agent 007 as a shrewd marketing device: "Bond is a phenomenon. He's quintessentially British, but there is a worldwide following. An association with Bond has real worth."

BMW, which seems to have superseded Aston Martin as the Secret Service's car manufacturer of choice, also threw in a £10,000 superbike and allowed Bond's producers write off 17 brand new cars while making the film.

All the manufacturers agree that Bond gadgets stick in the mind. Ivo Soave, of Omega watches, said that the Omega Seamaster experienced an increase in sales of more than 100% over a short period of time.

Critics have suggested that the focus on gadgets rather than plot damages the film. With so many companies spending millions of pounds to get their cars, motorbikes, watches, champagne and vodka into James Bond's hands, he is becoming more of an international salesman than an international super spy.

Unfortunately, the branded gadgets in Tomorrow Never Dies are merely props and very few of the spectacular features really work.


[ image: The Ericsson mini-scanner: not available in the shops]
The Ericsson mini-scanner: not available in the shops
For example, the Ericsson mobile phone featured in the film operates as a mini fingerprint scanner, a 20,000 volt security device, and as a remote control for Bond's car.

The Ericsson Bond phone available in the shops can do little more than play the 007 theme music.
 





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  Internet Links

Tomorrow Never Dies Official Site

Tomorrow Never Dies Europe Site

BMW's Bond Site

Ericsson's Bond Site


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