Why James won’t chase the bad guys in a Ferrari — Being on brand by association where prestige is more important than profit

 Bond walking away from his all new Aston Martin DB10

Bond walking away from his all new Aston Martin DB10

Bond is the ultimate style icon alongside which there is no denying the power of a well placed product. Few movie-goers are going to spend $4500 on a Tom Ford suit after seeing Spectre, even fewer I imagine will buy Sunspel underwear that aren’t even visible on screen. So why do brands want the association? the main answer is generation X and the opportunity to connect an item to a story which can be seeded everywhere from Twitter to glossy magazines desperate for content, which by association pleases its readers. Aston Martin returns with its magnificent DB 10 seizing the occasion to announce its commitment too electrifying its Rapide.

the licensee would be spending in excess of 3 times this

For every dollar delivered to MGM for the right, the licensee would be spending in excess of 3 times this to enjoy the reach and exposure it needs across the globe. The interesting thing is the licensee would have to value the prestige over profit. Crokett & Jones the quintessential British boot maker whilst relatively small, clearly sees value in reinforcing its brand which needs to avoid a dying air of royal dustiness.

 The very British Bond

The very British Bond

The trend is to focus on Britishness and somehow I struggle to see our beloved James chasing the bad guys in a Ferrari. Better they do it in the angry red machine from Marinello, or even more, a dubiously dirty Audi S8 would be fit the evil positioning perfectly. Nothing new here except the dollars for licenses are huge and no one wants to disclose how much they pay. Skyfall in 2012 more than doubled its Box office gross at $1.1B than previous films. The more the movie makes the higher the fees rise who hanker the association.

Brands looking for the opportunities to leverage themselves need to under-stand quite clearly the persona they seek to align with

The licensees and MGM have gagged everyone in disclosing how much money changed hands this time with one Wikileak exception. Sony Electronics paid $5m for the right to shoot Daniel Craig with its new Xperia phone along with another $5m as a contribution to film production and a commitment to $18m to an advertising campaign. Brands looking for the opportunities to leverage themselves need to understand quite clearly the persona they seek to align with and the associated values. Its risky but worth it to have arms-length connections to aspirations of courage, sporting achievement, theatrical appeal and other sentiments which help to position your product.

 Uniqlo has a superb linkage with emerging notables in all sorts of careers

Uniqlo has a superb linkage with emerging notables in all sorts of careers

Whilst Bond is such a sexy association there are many other well managed licences which are impressive and not always connected to luxury. Uniqlo has a superb linkage with emerging notables in all sorts of careers which exemplify their quality and amazingly humble price points without looking cheap. The services sector particularly in the financial institutions of insurance, banking and management consulting somehow miss the mark for me. So often sponsoring CBD activities which look more like the “Chairman’s whim’’ rather than a sound strategy which attracts their potential users.

Using the association to align the story of your brand is perhaps the ultimate skill rather than simply handing the cash over and hoping consumers make the correct association. In the recent Rugby World cup we’ve seen good and poor positioning by advertisers. Few saw the wit and discourse opportunities in a narrative which could have captured more interest beyond the cliches we saw so much of. Creating the linkages and being playful requires great insights to achieve a memorable message. Few brand managers have these skills, all to often leaving it to their agency to craft safe messages which fail to resonate beyond the moment.