CAMPAIGNS: Ford's luxury Bond cars in media 'buzz' - Consumer PR.#

Client: Aston Martin/Jaguar
PR Team: In-house
Campaign: Die Another Day
Timescale: January - November 2002
Budget: Undisclosed

Product placement - from watches to vehicles - has become an increasingly competitive commercial aspect of the James Bond films. The 20th in the series, Die Another Day, saw Aston Martin make a return as the hero's favourite sportscar/killing machine.

The DB5 model was first used by Bond in the 1964 film Goldfinger, but the manufacturer had been absent from the last few films.

Jaguar was to be placed prominently in a Bond film for the first time, as the villain's vehicle of choice. Both car brands are part of Ford Motor Company's luxury arm, Premier Automotive Group.

Objectives

To present Aston Martin and Jaguar as quintessentially British, luxury, aspirational brands.

Aston Martin wanted to create an impact which would make advertising unnecessary for ten years, while Jaguar wished to target a younger consumer market.

Strategy and Plan

Both PR teams were keen not to link their products with promotional activity, which might be seen as downmarket, and the Ford brands wanted to avoid competing with each other for media space.

To that end, Aston Martin's part of the campaign was primarily aimed at the consumer and lifestyle media, while Jaguar targeted motoring journalists.

Both teams worked closely with Eon Productions, which owns the Bond franchise, and Pinewood Studios, where Die Another Day was shot.

Journalists from the US, Japan, Germany and the UK visited the set for a behind-the-scenes look at filming.

In July, Aston Martin took The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and The Sun out on a test drive. All journalists were held to strict embargoes until the cars were revealed at the NEC Motor Show in October.

Although dealers took key clients and prospects to the film's premiere at the Royal Albert Hall, events such as themed dealership 'Bond days' were out.

Measurement and Evaluation

Both PR teams say they concentrated on a 'slow burn' effect which may take two or three years to be evaluated, and simply used the film to create a 'buzz' around their products by giving the media extensive access.

After Goldfinger, sales of Aston Martin's DB5 doubled to 400 a year, but the manufacturer says the market is not big enough to double sales today.

With no help from Aston Martin, the Daily Mail bought its own Vanquish (which costs £164,000 retail) to use in a reader competition.

Results

Most major UK papers carried something on the film or on the Bond phenomenon which mentioned the cars.

Aston Martin inevitably overshadowed its sister brand but coverage for both included pieces in The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Sun, Daily Express, Car, Autocar and AutoExpress.

five's Fifth Gear carried an hour-long special on Bond's cars, while Jeremy Clarkson fronted a BBC Top Gear programme on them.

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