Barbour is one of the best examples of product placement in the new Bond movie Skyfall, in which Daniel Criag wears a Barbour Beacon Heritage sports jacket in the finale of the film set in Scotland. This jacket is heavily featured in the movie, and on the cover of the book "Bond on Set"
[Thanks to Marc Levy at Boehringer Ingelheim for giving us the idea for this blog.]
Here's why I think this is smart.
1. Brand is embedded in the story
A lot of product placement looks like, well, product placement. Take Heineken. Bond is swigging one in a Turkish beach hut at the start of the movie. But it would have been more authentic to see him drinking a cheaper, local brew perhaps. Also, the way Craig holds the bottle just so, to show the red star of Heineken but not the brand name, felt posed to me.
In contrast, the Barbour coat is embedded into the story. It looks and feels just like the sort of gear Bond would wear when defending his Scottish childhood home from an army of attackers.
2. Brand synergy
Sorry for the jargon. But Bond and Barbour work beautifully in the movie to mutual benefit. Barbour brings toughness, durability and countryside authenticity. And Bond helps add some glamour and spice to the rather dusty Barbour brand, as Marc says: "Before I thought Barbour was an old, conservative, out of fashion British brand, which I would never consider buying."
3. Manage the demand
The Bond magic seems to have worked for Barbour, with reports that the jacket was out of stock in many places. But according to Marc, the brand had customer service in place to handle the demand. When he called the company he was answered quickly and politely, and put on a waiting list, so that when the new jackets are ready, there will be one for him at a local retailer.
In conclusion, this smart, integrated bit of marketing shows how to go beyond product placement to "brand integration". And to end with another quote from Marc to show how this works, "I now consider Barbour a “cool” brand, they have gained a new customer".