A few years ago, Scouting for Girls sang, ‘I wish I was James Bond, just for the day.’ With ‘Unlock the 007 in you’, Coke Zero seems to promise that this is possible for your average punter.
Now, before I go any further, I will admit to the fact that I have never seen a single James Bond film. Nope, not one. In fact, it’s kind of become a badge of honour with me. Not to mention a sort of perennial conversation with my friends as well as my colleagues at Ipsos ASI: when will I pop my Bond cherry? Will it be with Skyfall? Or should I start with the back catalogue? Or maintain my ignorance? Who knows…
Does that mean I miss the joy or the fun of this ad? Or of Bond’s 50th anniversary? Or of anything Bond related, for that matter? I’d argue not. And I’d also argue that this is to the benefit of any brand that can truly leverage Bond (or any other such property).
Let’s start with the question of whether or not I miss the point. If you have lived in the English-speaking world (and probably beyond) in the past 50 years, Bond is difficult to escape. He’s a strong meme: he’s everywhere influencing many things and morphing to suit the times. That means that I still smile with appreciation when I see this ad, enjoying not only the storyline but also, as a geeked out ad researcher, the way the brand is fuelling the storyline.
This means that, even if the Bond-watching audience is smaller than the actual universe (although my friends tell me that I’m the only one who’s never seen Bond), that the power of the tie-in goes beyond just those who plan to watch Skyfall. Of course, it may be less aspirational for me (I must admit that I don’t necessarily wish I were James Bond, even for the day) than it might be for, say, my husband, it can still touch an emotional chord and resonate.
Back to the ad itself, what I admire most is that the brand is not overshadowed by Bond. And Bond casts a big shadow. Many of the lessons about using celebrities that I’ve discussed in the past are still relevant in this situation, the most important of which is to ensure that the brand still shines. Coke Zero has done a great job because the brand is the hero of the ad by enabling the guy to get the girl. Making the brand the hero in this circumstance is not easy to do, and thus it should be applauded.
What lesson can others take from this? The main lesson is to look at how the brand plays a key role in the storyline. While it’s possible to tell the story of what happens without the brand, it’s much more difficult than if the brand had merely been tagged onto the end. But it’s also good to pause and ask if there are ways that you can leverage the property to reach beyond the natural target of the meme.