New Bond film shakes up 007's drink
SOME James Bond fans will be shaken and others stirred to learn that 007 is being given a new vodka for his martinis.
Belvedere Vodka has signed a partnership deal to appear in the next Bond movie, Spectre, which is to be released in November.
The agreement, which was set to be announced in London yesterday, involves the Belvedere parent, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, and three firms with rights to Bond and the Bond films: Eon Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios and Sony Pictures.
Although financial terms of the deal were not available, Charles Gibb, president of Belvedere, described the partnership as "the largest to date" for the super-premium vodka in the two decades since it was first exported from its home country of Poland to major markets like the United States.
"It's our first major movie placement, too, beyond the sort of positioning of a bottle in a bar," he said.
In addition to Belvedere's inclusion in Spectre - the 24th film in the Bond series dating back to 1962 - Mr Gibb outlined extensive plans for the partnership, including worldwide advertising and public relations campaigns.
There will be two types of limited-edition bottles, both with 007 themes; promotions and events at nightclubs, bars and stores; a presence on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and a drink named the Belvedere Spectre martini.
Belvedere will join a long list of brands and products that are to be featured in Spectre along with Bond, portrayed again by actor Daniel Craig.
Another brand is luxury carmaker Aston Martin, which is furnishing to the film-makers a sports model called the DB10.
So iconic is a martini in a Bond movie that his request when the tipple is being made - "Shaken, not stirred" - has entered the vernacular.
For most Bond movies, Smirnoff has been the master spy's vodka of choice, although he switched to Finlandia for Die Another Day in 2002.
In the previous Bond film, Skyfall (2012), there was no featured vodka. Instead, Heineken beer paid an estimated US$45 million (S$58 million) for a partnership that included placement in the movie and a global commercial - with a cameo appearance by Craig - that ran on television, online and in movie theatres.
The pricey Scotch whisky Macallan was also glimpsed in some Skyfall scenes.
Mr Gibb said that he was undaunted by the possibility that Belvedere might share screen time with other tipples, because "any man of taste has a repertoire of what he drinks".
"If you go back into Fleming's novels," he added, referring to Ian Fleming, the author who created James Bond, "Bond prefers Russian and Polish vodka, which makes Belvedere a natural fit with the character."
Belvedere could use a boost, according to the annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, which ranks the brand ninth among vodkas, behind high-priced competitors like Grey Goose at No. 1; Ketel One at No. 2; Tito's, tied for third with Smirnoff; and Chopin, tied for No. 5 with Skyy.