You may have thought that given the James Bond movie franchise is financed by Sony Pictures it would be a relatively easy task to get a Sony Xperia device front-and-centre when it comes to product placement. However, the reality is far from that, judging by leaked emails from the North Korea hack last year.
The emails show that getting a Sony mobile phone on set is a priority for the company, but Sony Pictures need compensation given that it “would be giving up a potentially huge product placement deal.” Various figures fly around including $18m for the above the line marketing and a fee of $5m for Daniel Craig (who plays James Bond) to use the phone.
There is hard negotiations going on as at one point there is talk of a counter-offer from Samsung, promising advertising spend of $50m and a product fee of $5m. In addition, the same source claims that “Sam (Director: Sam Mendes) and Daniel (Craig) don’t like the Sony phone for the film”, even going on to say that “in their minds, the Sony phone is not the best”.
This particular party was looking to exploit the fact that Sony phones were not well known to gain some leverage in the negotiations. Judging by the last email leaked on the matter, it looks like they had reached terms, but we’ll only truly know once the movie is released later this year.
Negotiations to get a Sony Xperia device into the next James Bond film
30 September 2014
“The mobile phones seem to be the priority for placement. I know that the phones are Sony’s priority as well. I’ve been asked to have the design team focus on creating an über modern phone instead of focusing on an existing product.”
“I told AMy that we would try to get the phone in the film . I would like for you to send me a photo of the phone that they would like for us to use and Sam will ask the art department to alter it according to his specifications ..we do not want to do it the other way around..I told AMy that if we are to use the phone we would need to get compensation as we would be giving up a potentially huge product placement deal.”
2 October 2014
“Barbara wants to get a PLACEMENT FEE for putting the phone in. She understands that Sony is willing to commit to a marketing/advertising campaign of 18MM, but she wants an additional placement fee. In the past, Sony Electronics/Mobile has not paid a fee…but has paid the following:
• $18MM Above-the-Line Advertising commitment
• $ 5MM Production Budget/Cost including TV, Print, Digital, etc.
• $ 5MM Daniel Craig FEE
• $ 1MM License Fee to EON for a limited edition Bone phone (which by the way…Sony Mobile never recouped, but paid)
Today…Sony Electronics has so far budgeted the following:
• $18MM ATL Advertising commitment
• $ 5MM Daniel Craig FEE
• $ 5MM Production Budget”
15 October 2014
“He said an offer came in from Samsung (it was a fixed placement fee of 5m, and he thought there was also a significant cross promotional advertising spend commitment, he thought 50m).
BEYOND the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a CREATIVE factor whereby Sam and Daniel don’t like the Sony phone for the film (the thinking, subjectively/objectively is that James Bond only uses the “best,” and in their minds, the Sony phone is not the “best”). Having said that, David said if Sony made a fair market offer, that Barbara, armed with a “solid” financial proposal would go to work on Sam and Daniel and get this pushed through creatively. He obviously can’t guarantee that result (and he said as much), but he seemed very genuine and forthright on our call.”
21 October 2014
“I’m happy that we are in a good place with Sony and the placement fee. As a recap, here are the few conditions we discussed:
1. We have the exclusive placement and promotional rights for both the Electronics and the Mobile category for Bond 24.
2. We have all necessary pass through rights to do third-party mobile operator promotions and retailer promotions with the property.
3. We will provide needed electronics and phones for placement …no other identifiable brands can show up in the film. If non-Sony electronics has to be used (i.e. older products), the competitive logo must be blurred out, no identifiable trade dress products.
4. The actual unmodified Xperia phone as is used for placement and clearly identified as “Bond’s phone”.
5. We get rights to promote a Sony Mobile Bond Phone.
6. We get an exclusive window to bundle (Casino, Quantum, Skyfall) during the theatrical window and bundle Bond 24 and the 3 prior films during the DVD window (subject to payment of appropriate license).
7. We get rights to use clips from the movie to do TV spots subject to talent obligations. We understand there are talent restrictions, but we need appropriate iconic footage to tell a Bond story without Bond and such talent rights as are available.
8. We need a SONY Electronics executive show-and-tell with key Danjaq/producer executives.”
Sony does its best to hide competitor phones within Sony Pictures movies
The below are excerpts from an email chain relating to the movie Chappie and the appearance of a HTC phone, which Sony wanted covered up.
RC: Can u cover the logo of the non-sony phone?
SK: Can you give me her number, so i can call and express its importance to neill? he’s okay blacking it out, but we have had test cards mention the amount of sony in the movie (seriously, more than one), so he’s especially sensitive to it right now.
it’s really one scene with a guy on the phone, and he’s a day-player bad guy. it’s not something that will feature heavily (if at all) in materials.
RC: Pls see description below from SK about the pick up. May not even be in the movie. The phone is HTC, but they are happy to cover the logo.
AP: i have no problem with this as long as they cover up the phone, you?
ML: blacking out is fine.