CAMPAIGN DIRECT: MARKETING CHALLENGE - How Ericsson uses James Bond to boost brand awareness. Pierce Brosnan co-stars in the Bond movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, with a mobile phone. Ali Qassim reports

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 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

called Codebreaker.



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

way.



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

advertising.



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

link respectively.



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.