Marcus' Blog

James Bond's Car

When you see James Bond driving an Aston Martin, its supposed to look cool. It’s cool if he doesn’t talk about it. Aston Martin pay millions of dollars for the privilege for James Bond to destroy their car. They love doing this.

Imagine the next James Bond film, Bond is in an Aston Martin talking us through the handling of his Vantage twin turbo V8. He states it has headed seats, traction control and why he chose the optional sky roof. It’s an extra but he feels it’s better for resale. Later in the film, instead of nonchalantly passing over a valet ticket, he specially asks for his Aston Martin Vantage in Moonlight Silver and checks the rims haven’t been scratched before driving off to his villa, all while commenting on the excellent handling and carbon fibre steering wheel paddles. Once home, he parks the car and slides on his car cover, he did get the optional metallic paint after all.

Is this an effective product placement? He does talk more about the car.

In the film Ninja Turtles they ask for an “ice cold Vanilla Coke…” The second we detect ‘brand language’ we immediately know who asked for it, the brand manager and it feels wrong. If you’re the marketing manager of Coke, you might think/hope that asking for an “ice cold Vanilla Coke” is in our vernacular but it’s not. We just don’t care about you as much as you think we do. You love your brand, your packaging, your logo but we don’t look at it in the same light in the real world. Forced product feels disgusting and the second we sense it, we feel being sold to and the sale is lost. We are no longer influencing people if we are coming on too strong. We’re proposing on the first date and it’s not well received.

So, how much is too much? How subtle can you be and still be effective? What if we put our logo in the corner of our Instagram posts? What’s your Instagram display picture? Oh, that’s our logo too. What’s in the Instagram image? Our product. What’s the caption? Benefits of our product. What’s your Instagram handle? That’s our brand name. What’s your Instagram name? Well, that’s our band name too. When I see your image on Instagram, I get it. I know what you’re doing and I’m expected to like your image? That’s too much. We are no longer being effective, we’re force feeding people. I like to think about the sales funnel, awareness, interest, decision, action. Do we use the Bond film to decide which features we’re going to get or do we just decide to go to the dealer?

My favourite line about branding is: “You brand isn’t what you say you are, it’s what other people say about you”. Show, don’t tell.

Marcus Willis