In his movies, James Bond seldom plays by the rules. But his fans always expect him to stay true to the Bond lore: the womanizing, the fast cars, the martini, "shaken, not stirred." So it's not surprising that as the 23rd Bond film, "Skyfall," prepares for release in November, the public is up in arms that the protagonist will be shown in the movie enjoying -- gasp -- a Heineken.
While the beer brand has a 15-year history with the Bond franchise, the deal it signed in March is its most integrated to date. Reported to be worth $45 million, it required that James Bond drink the beer in one scene of the movie. It also put Daniel Craig, as Bond, in a Heineken ad.
That ad, "Crack the Case," takes the No.10 spot on the Viral Chart with 1.5 million views.
Following in the tradition of other recent Heineken commercials, "Crack the Case" is one long, jam-packed action scene. The hero is a man who is mistaken for Bond by a group of villainous-looking uniformed men. Daniel Craig only appears as Bond in the end when, standing at the bar, he is holding a Heineken.
But the buzz surrounding this campaign has little to do with the ad or the fun Facebook application created by Wieden & Kennedy that allows viewers to put themselves in the action. Rather, the fuss is all about how Bond is forsaking his beloved vodka martini. A small Facebook group called "Boo James Bond's Heineken scene" sprung up. And on Twitter, users have started using the hashtag #Skyfail to talk about the product-placement deal.
Of course, this is not the first time that Bond has imbibed something other than his vodka fare on screen. Pierce Brosnan, for example, ordered a mojito in "Die Another Day." But for some reason, Craig's Bond seems to elicit controversy; he is the Bond that seems to break all the sacred Bond rules.
From the day he was announced as Brosnan's successor, critics were in a frenzy. "How could he be Bond? He was blond!" He sinned yet again when he drove a Ford in "Casino Royale." The traditional Aston Martin was also featured in the film, but Ford, which owned the luxury brand at the time, also wanted to feature one of its more accessible brands.
The Bond franchise, which turns 50 this year, has always relied heavily on product placement. Even in "Dr. No," Sean Connery's Bond flew Pan Am and drank prominently displayed Smirnoff vodka. The Aston Martin wasn't even introduced to the franchise until "Goldfinger"; in the novels 007 drove a Bentley.
The spy films are expensive to produce and market and depend on product deals to get made. "Skyfall," in fact, was delayed two years because of funding, according to The Daily Mail. "Heineken gave us a ton of money for there to be Heineken in a shot in a bar. ... Without them, the movie couldn't get sold," Mr. Craig said, in the most recent issue of Vanity Fair.