It keeps James Bond in touch with his latest love conquest, it
opens doors, it blows up safes, it even drives his car. Ericsson’s
concept phone, which co-stars with Pierce Brosnan in the latest Bond
film, Tomorrow Never Dies, may not yet be available to mobile
phone-users. But the Swedish phone company is nevertheless banking on a
dramatic surge in demand for its mobile phones following its link-up
with the world’s most famous secret agent.
It’s not the first time Eon Productions, which holds the licence to the
Bond films, has teamed up with a major brand name - witness the BMW and
Omega associations in the previous Golden Eye film.
But the Ericsson-007 deal is unprecedented in two ways: the inseparable
partnership of Ericsson and James Bond in the film from the battlefield
to the bedroom, providing both brands with a perfect match, and the
scale and scope of the promotional campaign.
More than pounds 25 million has been pumped into a campaign through
Young & Rubicam Europe and Wunderman Cato Johnson, which will run across
57 countries in more than 20 languages using a combination of
brand-building, cinema product placement and a Bond-themed promotion
The idea of bringing in a telecoms company began more than a year ago
when United International Pictures, the distributor of the Bond films,
was touting ideas for a brand link-up in a new Bond film, Ed Sharp, the
account manager for UIP at Y&R, explains.
Eon was already toying with the idea of making the baddie of the 18th
Bond film the boss of a global media empire (clearly a Murdoch or a
Maxwell) with ambitions to acquire exclusive broadcasting rights in
China on a 100-year contract. With global communications as the film’s
central theme, it was not long before Y&R thought of introducing another
of its international clients, Ericsson, to UIP.
’An association of this kind only succeeds when it works for both
sides,’ Sharp points out. ’Ericsson had the technology and Bond had a
strong global presence with both men and women.’
’It was a perfect brand fit,’ Alex Rodrigues, marketing manager of
Ericsson mobile phones in the UK, says. ’Bond gives Ericsson a cool,
sexy, hi-tech image.’
The next stage was for the film’s scriptwriters to meet the Swedish
company’s research and development department and analyse the ways in
which Ericsson could appear on screen in a coherent and integral
But achieving co-star status was only the first step for Ericsson.
’While Bond represents an incredible property, it was clear to us that
it wasn’t enough just to appear in the film. We also had to promote the
connection,’ Rodrigues says.
Ericsson launched a multi-million promotional campaign to woo both the
trade (2,500 dealers in the UK) and the final target market - the
growing number of people eager to join the existing eight million mobile
phone users in the UK.
The campaign aims to link the two brands through simple poster and press
straplines such as ’James Bond is now working with Swedish
Intelligence’, ’Put an Ericsson to the test’ and ’Cover me, James.’ The
effectiveness of the ’Ericsson-made, Bond-approved’ link is illustrated
by comparing Golden Wonder’s use of Tomorrow Never Dies last December,
offering consumers the chance to win a ’Bond weekend’. Beyond the prize
incentive, the promotion does little to enhance brand awareness of
either the crisp manufacturer or the secret agent.
The Codebreaker promotion developed by Wunderman Cato Johnson is born
directly from the film placement and the TV brand-building
The hook was a Codebreaker Card game in which customers have to visit
stores during a specified period to find out if their secret code number
matches one of the winning numbers. Prizes include a BMW Z3 Roadster and
ten Omega watches. A second part of the promotion enabled buyers to
crack a code offering up to pounds 100,000 in cash prizes.
’One of the aims of the campaign - apart from encouraging consumers into
shops to buy mobile phones - was to develop Ericsson’s relationship with
the trade,’ Steve Aldridge, creative director at WCJ, explains. Store
managers were alerted to the sales opportunities of a Bond-themed UK
consumer promotion weeks before the start of the pre-Christmas push by
both UIP and Ericsson to promote Tomorrow Never Dies and the Bond-phone
A direct mail campaign was devised explaining the Codebreaker
advertising and promotional material and providing managers with an
opportunity to win a holiday in Monte Carlo as well as incentivising
dealers to use the promotion to win prizes worth up to pounds 42,000.
Dealers were also sent an ’Ericsson-made, Bond-approved’ book of
guidelines with creative executions designed to look and feel consistent
with the TV, press and poster campaign.
Ericsson is expecting James Bond to raise its market share of mobile
phones from 20 to 30 per cent. However, Aldridge is keen to point out
that it is not a purely promotional campaign. ’Bond will also help to
raise awareness of the Ericsson brand as a whole,’ he says.