The Casino Royale Lifestyle Guide
As someone who works in the marketing industry it often frustrates me to see the incomplete channels brands use to merchandise their products. As a collector of James Bond pieces and wardrobe it becomes doubly frustrating to see the lack of "NOISE" a brand puts around their product when it is tied to one of the Bond movies. Having a sweepstakes or one landing page on a web site is not optimizing the client experience for those seeking to acquire said products. In addition there is a lack of enterprise wide direction on how a Bond fan can see the "lifestyle" landscape of products and offerings through a shared site- a virtual handbook or catalog of Bond wares. This is not a revolutionary idea and many industries like the pharmaceutical and tech industry are taking advantage of these strategies. One would think EON, as a savvy marketer, would want to take advantage of this method for all their brands. But alas this is not the case. The result in this limited merchandising makes it very challenging to the Bond collector or even casual Bond appreciator to find the clothes, accessories, and "lifestyle" products Bond has used. From this blurry foundation we have bred "hunters" of the Bond lifestyle and these hunters are loaded for bear around the new Bond flick, Casino Royale. Once again the hunters have had to become part detective and part spokesperson. It is the hunt around this film that this article is about and hopefully will serve as a 'game' trail for all those Bond hunters out there...
An image of a blue polo shirt, a pair of sunglasses worn on the back lot, a robe in yet another publicity photo. This is how it starts, with clues given to us by the internet and magazines. One of the first images to come across our screens was Craig in the Bahamas in a blue bathing suit. Immediately a targeted search was under way to find the company that made the suit but to no one's great surprise the company had done no robust hyper marketing of the brand association with this movie. It was only late in the game that I was able to discover it was La Perla and began a dialogue with the very helpful Jennifer Edelberg, who is the Public Relations Director of La Perla Fashions. I explained to Jennifer that there is an underground of individuals that collect these pieces but no one could find this suit. Jennifer was wonderful and helped me research several stores that still carried the suit. To my continual surprise La Perla had no intention of making the suit that was going to receive so much publicity past the bathing suit season. Now the world is left with the demand of men wanting the suit but the dwindling supply that is the foundation of so many people's frustration.
The blue polo worn by Craig in the Bahamas and the long sleeved polo at the end in Venice were made by Sunspel (www.sunspel.com) but without weeks of detective work and research no one would have known. It seems Sunspel had a quiet sweepstakes going on their site that was Bond related but other than that no "NOISE" regarding their relationship with the Bond name. To me this is poor and limited marketing at its best but I was pleased to hear that Sunspel is righting themselves and launching a new web site that will be carrying these pieces and more. But alas I hope they do it during 'peak' opportunity times like the first weeks of Casino Royale debuting.
The glasses worn by Bond were a simpler fair. Judging by early shots and press images we could see that Bond wears two different types of sunglasses and judging by the temple one could see the trademarked connection to Persol. But once again this company did not pre-heat the market by letting us know WHICH two products Bond uses and instead released this information very close to the premiere of the movie. Without the diligence of several Bond fans we would have waited months to order these pieces OUTSIDE of the season most people order sunglasses. Timing and marketing go hand in hand and someone should have observed a more proactive strategy. Now their site, www.persol.com, holds some good press info and direction on the glasses.
What Casino Royale movie could exist without the casino chips and cards in Bond's hands and Cartamundi was the logical choice for the creation of these.www.cartamundi.com was one of the more difficult web sites to navigate through but these sets are, thankfully, popping up all over eBay. Cartamundi also did a nice job sponsoring local events where their name, brand and product were prominently featured. In addition the customer service at this company was excellent, vigilant and polite even to the most stalwart fan.
Don't get me started on brands like Brioni, Turnbull and Asser, and Lobb Shoes. Here we have three distinct brands that have a long history of Bond affiliation and we were still kept in the dark around specifics on products. T&A sent out a modest email campaign on their limited edition tux shirt but to date Brioni andLobb have yet to definitely point out product specifications and focus. I have been in touch with Lobb and although they were ale to identify one shoe Craig wears there were several others that are still up to question. His ankle high brown suede shoes, for example. At the very least a Bond landing page on each of the above sites could clarify and confirm all at the same time not to mention drive incremental revenue for these companies.
The one company I feel did a fine job with their logo and the tie in with Casino was Smirnoff. A fun contest, a wonderful site, and great internet optimization coupled together to create the right amount of brand recognition so Bond appreciators and fans alike would have no question what brand of vodka he preferred. Go out and get the red label triple distilled bottle and you have an instant prop from the movie. Good job Smirnoff.
The other company that did an excellent job with branding and association was of course Sony. Savvy marketers in EVERYTHING they do their sitewww.SonyStyle.com was well lit and well received. The merchandise packaging and practical features made it a win/win for both the casual collector and the every day business person who wants to live the Bond lifestyle.
But the accessories were not just for the men this time. For those women dreaming of being Vesper, www.sophieharley.com offers the beautiful Algerian Love Knot and earrings Vesper wears throughout the movie. Although the price is set outside the realm of the casual collector these pieces will only increase in value over time and for those who are looking for that holiday gift for the misses that has to deal with the fanatic nature of a Bond fan then this is a happy compromise.
There still exist some mysteries yet to be discovered as far as Bond's lifestyle in Casino. His robes he wears, his jackets, and even his tropical shirt he wears in Madagascar have not been positively identified. You may have noticed that I have conspicuously left out of this article Bond watches as I believe everything there is to know can be found on the now famous www.delldeaton.com site which gets absolutely forensic with the different watches and psychological oxygen around preference to the different ones. However much fun the hunt of the Bond lifestyle is I truly hope beyond hope that for Bond #22 the licensees communicate with each other on how to collectively be heard but the consumer and build an early strategy of direct marketing coupled with e-marketing efforts. Hyper marketing these brands clearly and across different channels will involve these companies being less brand centric and more customer centric. I can promise them it will pay off in significant incremental revenue and added value of the respect of their hungriest consumers.
© 2006 David Zaritsky - www.freewebs.com/zaritsky/
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