The new James Bond movie, Casino Royale, opened this weekend, and supposedly he drinks a Heineken in the movie, for which the Bond production company was paid an undisclosed six-figures. I’ve already ranted about this before. I don’t like Heineken and I’m not a fan of most product placement, although others have convincingly pointed out that even in Fleming’s novels Bond used brand names as a way of showing the character’s sophistication. Here’s the Heineken print ad
I certainly agree that beer shouldn’t be shaken or stirred, but if it is indeed all about the beer, then it can’t be about Heineken. Heineken may be popular, but it’s a lousy beer, too often skunked due to the green bottle and even when not lighstruck is a pedestrian pilsner at best. James Bond is all about the finer things in life, and Heineken is definitely not one of them, beer-wise. But enough carping, I love James Bond. Here is the television commercial they shot on the set of the new film with Bond girl Eva Green. Despite what it’s advertising, it’s a pretty funny ad.
But I have to admit a certain fondness for the poster art from the original Casino Royale, which had almost nothing to do with the story in the novel, but which had it’s own goofy charm nonetheless and included such big name stars as David Niven (which was Ian Fleming’s ideal Bond), Peter Sellers, Woody Allen, Ursula Andress, Deborah Kerr, Orson Welles, George Raft and John Huston.
UPDATE (11/20): Okay, this is a little strange, but I saw the film yesterday (it was terrific, BTW) and I didn’t see one elbow bent with a beer, Heineken or otherwise. That strikes me as quite odd given the amount of coverage a few months ago about that very issue, that Heineken had paid a pile of cash precisely so James Bond would be seen actually drinking a beer, complete with fabricated justifications to boot. I didn’t even see the Heineken logo anywhere in the background (apart from being listed in the credits). It’s certainly possible I missed it but I do have pretty strong beer-dar for these things. Just ask my wife. If there’s beer in a film I tend to point it out, much to her exasperation. Did it end up on the cutting room floor or did they change their minds? It’s not like they didn’t pimp other brands. Ford (who also owns Aston-Martin) was in plain sight, and Bond mentioned his Omega watch by name. So I’d love to know what happened to de-rail the million dollar plus deal. I didn’t hear much outcry, really, apart from a few shrill words on my part, hardly enough to sour such a lucrative tie-in. Anybody know why they didn’t go through with the Heineken plan?