Vodka Martini Shaken not Stirred… or a Heineken?

Twitter: Sonja Shayegh (@sshayegh)

LinkedIn: Sonja Shayegh

Whether we notice them or not, nearly every film or show in this day and age is full of product placements. They can range from a subtle shot of a pair of Nikes to a bold statement of a brand new Audi speeding down the freeway. Marketers have become more and more inclined to embed their brands in films/shows because it is often a form of entertainment that their consumers enjoy. Thus, that consumer would associate their brand with the enjoyment they felt. However, with so many marketers trying to expose and promote their brand through these established media vehicles, it begs the question, how far is too far? At what point does the product placement detract from the movie itself and become a source of negative conversation among audiences?

This question was tackled head on in 2012 with the release of the most recent James Bond movie, Skyfall. For decades now, audiences around the world have come to know James Bond for his signature “shaken not stirred” martini. However, in promos leading up to the new movie and in the film itself, Bond is seen reaching for a Heineken rather than his trademark martini. After signing an alleged $45M product placement deal, Heineken quickly became Bond’s drink of choice, which clearly became a source of criticism among avid fans.


When it comes to product placement, it is important that they are done subtly and tastefully or else it can take away from the movie and break the reality. In this particular case, moviegoers felt that such a bold statement compromised the integrity of the character and the years of tradition. Furthermore, another factor affecting this product placement was the authenticity; it did not appear genuine and natural for James Bond to order a Heineken, which could have been the first mistake marketers made.

However, creators and actors of the film defended this deal saying that it is product placements like this that allow a big budget film like this to be made.  The fact of the matter remains – it costs money to make the movie, and it definitely costs money to promote it. With a big deal like this, the filmmakers were able to do both.

This particular example of product placement, and many others like it, definitely question whether or not there is in fact a line that marketers should not cross when it comes to embedding there brand in particular media vehicles. On one hand, I completely understand that the movie needs to get their budget from somewhere and they would have been insane to turn down such a massive deal. On the other hand, the avid 007 fan in me absolutely detests the change from the martini to beer. While it may not be logical, it is definitely something that marketers have to consider when deciding where exactly is the best outlet to place there product and what will be most beneficial for there brand as whole.




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