The new Omega Planet Ocean 600M Skyfall is beginning to trickle into Omega boutiques and dealerships to await the spin and brouhaha of yet another Bond movie release. While Omega may be excited over the seventh appearance of a Seamaster in a Bond movie, for many of us, maybe, it’s just a bit ho hum? Especially so when the Bond character has lost so much of its sauce and has been subsumed into a world of also-ran action heroes. The question has to be asked, should Omega continue the Bond/Craig association now that it has vastly improved the quality of its product since the inception of the relationship and enhanced both the status and price of the brand?
In 1962, Sean Connery transformed Flemming’s flawed Bond character into a smooth-talking, fornicating, epicurean, car-loving, chain-smoking, benzedrine-swallowing, alcohol-abusing sociopath who rogered and killed his way through a number of thrilling adventures. This fusion of such highly desirable personal qualities and character traits with a propensity for random violence struck a beautifully resonate chord with young male and female audiences of the nineteen-sixties. It was just what the doctor ordered: a counter-culture figure thumbing his nose at the ultra conservative, ‘Thou Shalt Not’ moral dictates of the older generations.
After Connery left the role, George Lazenby blundered his way through Her Majesty's Secret Service and nearly killed the franchise off. Roger Moore and Pierce Brosnan oversaw the complete ponce-ification of the Bond character, creating prissy, oleaginous caricatures of our beloved cold war hero. From the perspective of retaining anything originally ‘Bond-like’ in the character, the latest in the line of Bond actors, Daniel Craig, is arguably the most miscast of all. Exuding about as much savoir vivre as a British tourist on a budget airline flight to Rhodes, this foul-mouthed Liverpudlian with the vulcanised muscles can be seen to have completed the transformation of Bond into that of a video game action creature.
The James Bond ‘character’ is about as relevant today as a Remington typewriter is to a teenager, and we need not look further than the mishmash of animated violence and product placement that was Quantum of Solace to see what the future holds for Bond. Bond now conforms to the dialogue-starved American action hero genre, albeit with a few extra toys. Notwithstanding some talent for acting, Craig is limited to aping all the other Hollywood bone-heads who play action heroes in their customary and roboticised fashion. While there is talk about Bond iconography and legacy representing an important thread in contemporary Bond productions, it is all but gone and indications are that Skyfall will be no different.
Given, if played in the Connery style, a twenty-first century Bond would have about as much credibility as a Newt Gingrich moral sermon, but, surely, if so little depth is offered in the characterisation of the contemporary Bond persona will there not be equally little to latch on to by the multitudes of uncertain and impressionable young adults seeking status and self confidence through the purchase of Bond-related brands and consumables?
If the Bond character is just another characterless Hollywood action figure, the only solution is to morph the character into the fabricated public ‘identity’ of the actor playing the character. Thus, like all the other non-comicbook action heroes, Daniel Craig becomes the character (James Bond) and James Bond becomes Daniel Craig; a transmogrification achieved with so little apparent effort from everybody concerned, if Quantum of Solace is the standard by which we judge these things!
Following the above line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, Bond and the whole 007 roadshow becomes simply a vehicle for a morphed Daniel Craig persona. But, where does this place Omega in terms of its product placement deal with the makers of Bond movies? Omega’s marketing Department would argue that if Craig is Bond and Bond is Craig and Craig is an Omega Ambassador then it doesn’t matter, as long as this composite ‘property’ stays in line and doesn’t compromise the brand. Recent events, however, may have had the Omega marketeers thumbing nervously through the celebrity rags praying they don’t encounter another Daniel Craig faux pas.
As famous for never showing his teeth in a publicity shot (this hides his imperfect bite and makes him appear strong and intense) as he is for playing the Bond role, Craig has recently shown a propensity to pepper his public conversations with that decidedly non-Bond word “f**k”, or derivatives of it. Commander Bond as we know would have a ready supply of euphemisms to use in place of the ‘F’ word - like ‘butter the muffin’, ‘go on bush patrol’, ‘jump some bones’, ‘park the Aston in the garage’, ‘deploy the wedding gear’, ‘open the clam’, or, over brandy, the slightly obscure ‘engage one’s brains for a change’ or ‘storm the trenches’, but ‘f**k’..........never!! It just ain’t 007, but it IS Daniel Craig.
In interviews, Craig appears unconcerned with plucking the ‘f**k’ word out from his limited public vocabulary when stuck for adjectives. Recently, he took a swipe at the Kardashians, calling them f***ing idiots”. Irrespective of the fact that truth in this case could be considered a defence of such comments, one could expect the Omega ambassador to perhaps tone down the language a tad. Earlier in the same interview that touched on his embarrassing Jonathon Ross interview, Craig lamented, "I wish I did have f***ing jazz hands, but I don't”. In a December interview last year, Craig lashed out at politicians, calling them “sh*theads” and, in a show of political acumen that would shame any Fox Televison commentator, offered the profound insight, “That’s how they become politicians, even the good ones. We’re actors, we’re artists, we’re very nice to each other. They’ll turn around and stab you in the f**king back.” Ah yes, that’s right, artists and showbiz types are models of rectitude, are devoted servants of the public weal and should rule the world!!!
In an interview promoting the Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, Craig, reflecting on his entry into the Bond Franchise, explained, “The deciding factor for doing “Casino Royale”, even though I was umming and aahhing, going [puts on moody voice] “I don’t know if I want to do it”, was that they showed me the script and I thought: F**k, I’ve got to do this.” Such powerful use of the English language by a model British thespian, and a compelling argument for him to have properly finished his secondary school education before he ran away to be famous.
So, let’s answer the original question about the Omega Craig/Bond association. Perhaps we could answer it with a few more questions? For example, does Omega really want to associate its rising Super-Veblen brand status with a foul-mouthed tool head? With the price points now achieved on a range of its models, is the Bond fan base a market that Omega wishes to dominate? Given Omega’s recent history of superb brand husbandry, boutique expansion and product relationship coups, hasn’t the Bond/Craig tie-up run its course? Is the relationship at the point where it will debase or contradict the elevated status of the brand? Hmmm.......that would have to be nope, probably not, yep, and yep.