Last weekend I went to see the new Bond movie, Casino Royale, and thought it was the best Bond in ages. It seems I'm not the only one, as the movie has smashed all box office records for the Bond franchise, with the opening UK weekend take of £13 million up 40% on the previous high for Die Another Day.
The movie is not only a success in business terms, it marks the re-birth of the Bond brand (literally, as Casino Royale is the first of author Ian Flemming' s Bond books). A movie review I read in the Times even picked up on this, with the title "Bond rebranded".
In a previous post I commented on how a number of key equities had been maintained and refreshed over the last 20 years. What is interesting in Casino Royale is the brave decision to dump some of these, whilst radically updating others:
- Harder edge, brutality: this Bond is a rough and tough killing machine. The violence is a lot more real, and we even see Bond being bruised and beaten. The Bond movies had almost become pardody of themselves with Brosnan, and needed to be much tougher to win over today's younger audience.
- the "brand proposition" of Bond beats The Baddie is still there. Though Bond is not directly "saving the world" as in some other films. This time its a battle of wits with a terrorist banker
- Girls: yes. But only two this time! Vesper Lynd continues the trend of being a smart, strong woman, not just a pretty face. And Bond's relationship with her is much deeper than the normal one-night stand
- the catchphrases: some of these are still here, but used in a creative way. After a near-death experience, a barman asks Bond if he wants his Martini shaken, not stirred. Daniel Craig replies "Do I look like I give a shit" (well, not quite, but words to that effect!). "Bond, James Bond" is there, but as the last line in the movie.
- The gadgets: still plenty of these, including a blatantly branded Sony Ericsson wonder-phone
- Clothes: smart DJ's, Saville Rowe suits and stunning dresses all there
- Cars: the latest Aston Martin V8 Vantage...but also an embarrassing scene with a Ford Focus
to save the world. And there loads and loads of "executional equities" including:
- The exotic locations: Madagascar, Venice, Barbados...
- The theme tune
- Q: this character was nowhere to be seen, nor the laboratory full of far-fetched gizzmos
- No more Mr Nice Guy: gone is the suave sophistication. Craig is much nastier.
If you've seen the movie, please add your own comments on Brand Bond!
5-minute workout: think of your own brand equities and then which of these should be kept, updated or dumped. And what needs adding?