‘The name is Bond. James Bond.’
It’s perhaps one of the most recognized movie-spawned sayings around, and its high Q-quotient attests to the global pervasiveness of a movie franchise reaching back 36 years, spanning 18 movies and garnering a 95% recognition factor worldwide.
Last month, with the release of Eon’s Tomorrow Never Dies, the latest Bond installment hit the screens, and history was made-not on the big screen, but on the 300 million small screens that make up the worldwide reach of MTV. It was the first time ever the network united its 15 feeds covering 83 territories for a single promotion, and it was a strategic mix of global and local initiatives that allowed MTV to pull it off.
‘There’s no better way to reach the MTV audience than MTV,’ says Gerry Rich, president of worldwide marketing at MGM, which is handling promotion and distribution for the film. ‘It’s been our desire for years to infiltrate MTV with a promo centered around the Bond franchise, but it wasn’t until now that a promotion like this was able to come to fruition because MTV was still building its global base.’
‘Infiltrate’ is a key word here, as rather than just appearing in promo spots, Bond was integrated directly into MTV programming and awards shows. For instance, back in October, MTV’s Making the Video featured a behind-the-scenes look at a Garbage video for a single from the movie’s soundtrack, followed by the world premiere of the video itself. Two contests offering ‘the Bond car’ as a grand prize also pushed the flick. The U.S. contest (touted through Total Request Live) announced the winner of a BMW Z8 valued at over US$130,000 on the film’s opening day. The overseas contest culminated with Pierce Brosnan and Denise Richards (respectively Bond and ‘the Bond girl’) presenting a second Z8 to one of three territory winners during the pre-show for the Europe Music Awards in Dublin on November 11.
Rich acknowledges that his strategy for marketing the movie to teens was to hand over the job to the experts, and MTV’s VP of marketing and global branding Sarah Beatty says the project was only possible because the ethos of the Bond franchise worked for MTV.
‘Before we move forward on anything, it’s evaluated in terms of does it make sense creatively? Is this something that’s going to enhance our programming? I think the things that made this film particularly interesting to us were: Denise Richards; the fact that there was a strong music presence with Garbage; and the fact that James Bond is such a cool character.’
Ensuring that the promotion made it past the bullshit detectors of teens worldwide was all in the execution, according to Beatty. Having ensured that the movie had key elements that would naturally appeal to teens, she had to step back and let the creatives run the show. ‘The power of the idea and the creative has to stand on its own,’ she emphasizes. ‘The marketing strategy cannot lead, the creative idea has to lead and the strategy is developed out of the power of the idea.’
Beatty says she just gathered MTV programmers and producers from around the world into a room, told them about the marketing opportunity and let the ideas fly. And while the Bond car sweepstakes and Europe Music Awards promo anchored the project with global exposure, producers for individual feeds also came up with local programming supporting the film. For instance: MTV Screen, a regular program carried by the South East Asia, India, Mandarin and Korea feeds, aired a 30-minute The World is Not Enough special; the European feeds aired a similar movie special; and MTV Latin America aired a two-hour James Bond weekend stunt featuring interviews with stars from the film, preview clips, footage from the premieres in Los Angeles and London and replay coverage of the Bond car winner getting lucky.
The fact that such specials will be created locally by the same production crews that create regular MTV programming is crucial. ‘It just drives home the feeling that, as an MTV viewer, I’m not only connected to the world when I watch MTV, but what’s happening in my territory is important too,’ Beatty says.
On top of it all, MGM’s Rich says the added exposure, valued at several million dollars, didn’t come with too much added expense: ‘The MTV promotion was not something that we had to buy. What we provided was exclusivity for the music, certain prizes, and we co-oped the production expenditures on the programming.’
With her first global project winding down, Beatty says The World is Not Enough is not enough for MTV. The worldwide network is now open for business, she says, and that means being open to the next youth-friendly feature invasion.