James Bond doesn't work for free. He isn't just some gun for hire. He has standards, and values, and if you want him to use your smartphone in a movie you better come prepared with "a solid financial proposal." Because if Bond doesn't think your products are very good... Well, let's just say $5 million dollars will get him to hold your phone, but those are just table stakes.
$5 million just to hold a smartphone
No, this isn't advertising fan fic — this is how the product placement negotiations went down for the upcoming Bond-flick Spectre, at least, according to emails leaked from the Sony hack. Although we already knew that Daniel Craig was in the running for a $5 million fee just to be photographed holding Sony's flagship Xperia Z4, another email — recently flagged up by Wikileaks — has detailed exactly what the filmmakers' objections were.
As Andrew Gumpert, president of "worldwide business affairs" at Columbia, notes, when it comes to product placement, Bond isn't just about the money:
BEYOND the $$ factor, there is, as you may know, a CREATIVE factor whereby [director Sam Mendes] and Daniel [Craig] 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").
The email is dated to October 2014, and also mentions the possibility of swapping in a Samsung device for Sony's. While Sony had reportedly budgeted an $18 million "advertising commitment" for the next Bond film, Samsung was apparently willing to up this figure to $50 million. A previous email also floated the idea of sidestepping Craig altogether and bringing in Q — aka British actor Ben Whishaw — for the publicity instead.
$5M for Bond, but just $1M for Q
"What if we take the Daniel Craig fee and convince Sony just to pay Barbara directly [$4 million] for a placement fee," writes Columbia Pictures executive George Leon. "NO Daniel this time. We walk from him. The remaining [$1 million] (or LESS!) of this budget can be used to hire "Q" instead?"
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anything else in the emails revealing which smartphone brand Bond does decide is "the best." He certainly has a history with Sony as he uses an Xperia T handset in Skyfall, but we all know the world's greatest spy can be a bit fickle. And if he doesn't think your smartphone is "subjectively / objectively" the best, well, can you really argue with someone with a license to kill?★★★