For your highbrows only! Car and watch makers pay millions for plugs in Bond films... but for literary magazine it's free


In recent years, James Bond films have become almost as famous for their product-placements as their action scenes.

But the latest instalment, Skyfall, the third to star Daniel Craig as 007, will feature an unusually cerebral item alongside the fast cars and jewellery – a copy of book-lovers’ magazine Literary Review.

And far from paying hundreds of thousands of pounds for the privilege, the magazine is getting the exposure for free.

The name's review...Literary Review: 007 actor Daniel Craig with co-stars Berenice Marlohe, left, and Naomie Harris, right

The name's review...Literary Review: 007 actor Daniel Craig with co-stars Berenice Marlohe, left, and Naomie Harris, right

So keen were the film’s makers to paint a rounded picture of M, the fictional head of MI6 played by Dame Judi Dench, that they approached the magazine’s publishers for permission to use it.

A copy of the October issue, which features an image of Charles Dickens on the cover, is now set to appear as a prop in a scene set in M’s flat.

Literary Review editor Nancy Sladek said: ‘We are thrilled. M is clearly a lady of great taste and authority.’

While the magazine and the spy films might seem worlds apart, Ms Sladek pointed out that Literary Review’s deputy editor Tom Fleming is a great-nephew of the late Ian Fleming, who wrote the Bond books, while contributors include former Soviet spy Oleg Gordievsky.

Cover of the Literary Review October 2011
DVD: 'Quantum of Solace' (2008) starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton.

DVD: 'Quantum of Solace' (2008) starring Daniel Craig, Olga Kurylenko, Mathieu Amalric, Gemma Arterton.

Action man: Daniel Craig goes to shoot in the last 007 film  Quantum Of Solace

Action man: Daniel Craig goes to shoot in the last 007 film Quantum Of Solace

The magazine was contacted three weeks ago by the company behind the film, Bond 23 Ltd – a reference to its codename before the official title of the movie was announced.

Ms Sladek said the negotiations did not amount to product-placement in the usual sense as there was no financial deal, and the magazine just had to sign a ‘prop-release’ document.

But she acknowledged that the association with James Bond could add glamour to the image of the 32-year-old magazine and even boost circulation.

The producers of Skyfall have reportedly already raised £29 million – a third of the film’s budget – from brands that will appear on screen. The figure is more than twice that of the previous record, which is held by Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report.

James Bond 007 (DANIEL CRAIG) at Perla De Las Dunas, Bolivia. Location: ESO Paranal, Chile
James Bond 007 (DANIEL CRAIG) at Perla De Las Dunas, Bolivia. Location: ESO Paranal, Chile

Craig racing against time, left, and right enjoying his favorite drink - a shaken not stirred martini

Although Skyfall is not due to open in UK cinemas until next October, when the hugely popular franchise will be celebrating its 50th anniversary, producers have been negotiating with a range of potential sponsors including, for the first time, entrepreneurs from China.

Bond films have long profited from a partnership with companies wanting to plug their products. GoldenEye, the first to star Pierce Brosnan, was the focus of  a successful BMW campaign, devised by the late product-placement specialist Karen Sortito, which promoted the German firm’s Z3 model. On a mission: Craig as James Bond, left, and actress Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields, right, infiltrate a fundraising party in Bolivia in Quantum of Solace

On a mission: Craig as James Bond, left, and actress Gemma Arterton as Agent Fields, right, infiltrate a fundraising party in Bolivia in Quantum of Solace

For the next film in the series, Tomorrow Never Dies, Ms Sortito created a promotional campaign that included tie-ins with BMW, Visa, L’Oreal, Ericsson, Heineken, Avis and Omega. And 2006’s Casino Royale featured Sony Ericsson mobile phones and Sony Bravia televisions.

The phenomenon has led some Bond fans – and even a former 007 – to complain that scripts are being distorted to accommodate commercialism.

Morgan Spurlock, director of the documentary The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which scrutinised product-placement, criticised close-up shots of Sony Ericsson phones in recent Bond films. He also  said a scene in Casino Royale in which 007 showed off his Omega watch warranted a ‘special place in hell’.

Roger Moore, who played Bond from 1973 to 1985, described 2008’s Quantum Of Solace as ‘a long, disjointed commercial’.

Skyfall, which is being directed by Sam Mendes, also stars Ralph Fiennes, Javier Bardem, Berenice Marlohe and Naomie Harris. Filming began earlier this month.

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