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The Bond Blitz
This week, the latest James Bond movie, Skyfall, was released. It's got great reviews and had an incredible publicity stream, even involving the Queen and a star spot in the opening of the London Olympic Games this year, with viewer numbers in the many millions.
The Bond movies have always been must-see. I've an early memory of my father taking me to see Goldfinger, mostly because he wanted to see it, I suspect. I was somewhat embarrassed by naked ladies covered in gold. I knew I shouldn't look, but as I did, I wondered if my dad was peeping too.
At it barest, Bond movies are about sex and violence, with an archaic misogynistic position on the hero marching his way through a stream of women while dispatching chortling baddies with an equal dispassion. Yes, there are powerful women too and the PC police have toned things down, but the basic message is still masculine.
Yet the allure remains and the Bond movies have spawned other rough-tough good guy movies such as the Bourne series with which, paradoxically, the Bond producers have now felt obliged to align in the Daniel Craig grittiness that followed years of Roger Moore's tongue-in-cheek swagger.
Sony Pictures' promotions in the UK alone have been lavish, with trailers, bill-boards, TV spots and of course the modern essential of social media management. They are reckoned to have spent something in the region of five to eight million pounds on the blitz, let alone the endless trailing and TV appearances over the past year. They even, rather cleverly, managed to release it 50 years after the first Bond movie, enabling a tie-in with a jubilee celebration.
Matching the spend is the attention to other sources of revenue and no doubt the machine will make a great deal from from more than obedient movie-goers. Of course there will be the DVDs, the toys and other tie-in products. There is also an unprecedented level of product placement, from Heineken lager (what happened to the martini?) to the inevitable cars and, unsurprisingly, a whole range of Sony products.
And the media have been willing adjuncts to the publicity frenzy as actors and associates appear on talk shows, and news media show people going to the premiere. It is even on the UK X-Factor (a show with sagging numbers that is pulling every string it can). When things reach a level of interest, they grow their own legs and everyone want a share of the pie. This is the ideal for publicists, where the push of promotion turns into a pull of interest.
So I guess we'll have to go to see it this week.
Oh look: I just added to the publicity.