Star Trek probably creates the greatest brand evangelists of all cinematic and TV properties (see this earlier post), but there are more than enough men out there ordering vodka martinis and damaging the drink by specifying ‘Shaken, not stirred.’ It’s all thanks to Bond, James Bond—Ian Fleming’s literary hero that has become one of the most passionately discussed ﬁctional heroes of all time.
When New Voyages was made, the executive producer had spent $100,000 reconstructing the bridge of the USS Enterprise in his garage. Now, someone has paid £1 million for the Aston Martin DB5 used by Sean Connery in Thunderball.
While franchise owner Eon Productions will never permit a too-close James Bond production to be made—it clamped down even on Honda advertisements some years ago that hinted at Bond, and pressured (or agreed with) Mike Myers to run a James Bond trailer when Goldmember was shown—it makes me wonder if the new buyer is enough of a brand evangelist to take the Aston over to Switzerland and shred the tyres of a Mustang or two.
It’s highly doubtful—one of the Bond Astons went missing a while ago, and the survivors will be guarded like Fort Knox against any would-be Goldﬁngers.
Nevertheless, Eon has preserved the Bond brand well, and I have more than a feeling that the ﬁrm trawls the Bond forums for ideas. It might not permit “evangelizing” to the extent of Paramount and Star Trek (viz. do what you like as long as you don’t proﬁt), but generally allows the forums to go ahead provided they do not have MGM- or Eon-owned materials. It asked fans for a name for the last ﬁlm (I suggested Thorns of Ice, which sounded Flemingesque). It’s tolerated many parodies (e.g. photo shoots inspired by Bond—we are running one in Lucire’s print edition) and even clothing collections that have taken Bond novel names—all of it fuelling the Bond mystique.
Bond movies, we are told by insiders, are a communal affair—which may be why they have lasted so long. They allow the brand to be guided by fans—with occasional lapses of judgement such as Lee Tamahori’s Hollywood-slick Die Another Day (we won’t mention the CGI). Whether Eon consciously knows it or not, it has been ahead of the individuals-are-brand-stewards idea that people like me write of when we go on about democratization.
The trawling (along with Barbara Broccoli’s persuasion) could explain the casting of Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, with fans saying they wanted another From Russia with Love rather than a Die Another Day—but will they listen on fans’ objection to the idea of a “Bond begins”, which the new ﬁlm is hinted to be? No doubt we will know this year as the fans follow the progress of the ﬁlm—producing far fewer red herrings at their sites than the mainstream media (the Murdoch Press was particularly guilty with naming Eric Bana and several others as the new James Bond). And I won’t need Barry Norman to tell me that it will be better than the other two ﬁlms also called Casino Royale.
Del.icio.us tags: James Bond | Branding | Democratization | Star Trek Posted by Jack Yan, 23:06
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