10/10/2012 7:08 PM ET|
Will 'Skyfall' stir a stock windfall?
As the 007 franchise celebrates its 50th anniversary, some of the world's top brands are paying dearly to place their products in the newest film. Should investors care?
Bond is back. And so are the product placements.
"Skyfall" -- the latest movie in the James Bond franchise -- opens in theaters next month, but the marketing blitz has already begun.
This week's Economist magazine opened with a two-page advertising spread for an Omega Seamaster watch -- "James Bond's choice" -- featuring Daniel Craig, who portrays Bond in the film.
Not only does the actor endorse the Omega brand off-screen, his movie character does so, as well.
I cannot help but look down at my wrist and long to see an Omega watch on it. Perhaps it was the not-so-subtle implication that it would boost my appeal to women and help me to defeat the forces of evil.
I'm not alone. Every man secretly wants to be James Bond. In the 2002 film "Catch Me If You Can," actor Leonardo DiCaprio -- portraying real-life con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. -- walks into a tailor shop and orders a suit exactly like the one he saw Sean Connery wear in "Goldfinger."
Who could blame him?
In any event, I expect Swatch Group (SWGAY), Omega's parent, will get a nice sales boost in the fourth quarter from the hype generated by 007's latest adventure. (I don't know if I should be embarrassed or proud that I'll probably be one of those sales. And yes, I'll get the exact same Seamaster model that Bond wears.)
A handful of other companies also stand to benefit from an endorsement by Britain's most notorious spy.
Unfortunately, some of the higher-profile product placements -- such as Bond's Aston Martin or his bespoke Tom Ford suit -- are not made by publicly traded companies. Aston Martin was recently sold by FordMotor (F) to private investors, and Tom Ford has never been public.
Still, there are quite a few traded stocks to choose from. I'll start with Dutch megabrewer Heineken (HINKY).
Bond purists might be a little disappointed to see 007 drinking a beer rather than his signature vodka martini, but Heineken forked over more than $45 million to ensure that he does.
To put this in perspective, Heineken's paid product placement amounts to nearly a third of the movie's $150 million production budget. Having not seen the movie yet, I'm curious as to what exactly $45 million buys. I'm imagining a scene of Bond killing the villain with a blow to the side of his skull from a Heineken bottle. Regardless, if viewers leave the theaters and stop to grab a beer on the way home, it might prove to be money well spent.
In addition to being endorsed by Bond, Heineken also was endorsed by spoof agent Austin Powers "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," movie junkies may remember.
I continue to view Heineken as an excellent long-term investment on the rise of the emerging-market consumer. When they're not quenching the thirst of British intelligence operatives, Heineken and its subsidiary brands are the beers of choice in much of Africa, Latin America and, after its recent acquisition of Asia Pacific Breweries, Southeast Asia.
Next on the list is Sony (SNE). 007 has toted a Sony mobile phone in the past several movies, and according to the website James Bond Lifestyle (yes, it really exists), Bond will be carrying a Sony Xperia T in the new movie.
Sony has fallen on hard times, and I doubt if even James Bond is charming enough to persuade viewers to forgo an Apple (AAPL) iPhone or a smartphone running the Google (GOOG) Android operating system. But then, this is being written by a person who intends to buy an overpriced luxury watch precisely because he saw James Bond wearing it. We'll see if Sony's plight improves.
Finally, I'll leave you with international spirits powerhouse Diageo (DEO).
Though Heineken will be stealing the limelight in "Skyfall," Bond is best known for his vodka martinis -- shaken, not stirred.
Smirnoff -- Diageo's most popular vodka brand -- has long been a mainstay in the Bond film franchise. Don't be surprised if the general Bond buzz (and Heineken backlash-fueled nostalgia) translates into higher sales of Smirnoff and of Diageo's higher-end vodka brands like Ketel One and Cîroc.
Like Heineken, Diageo is a core holding in my Sizemore Capital portfolios as a long-term play on the rise of the emerging-market consumer. I consider it one of the few stocks I would truly be willing to "buy and forget."
Charles Sizemore is the founder and editor of The Sizemore Investment Letter and is the chief investment officer of Sizemore Capital Management. He is a regular contributor to InvestorPlace. At the time of publication, he owned or controlled shares of the following companies mentioned in this column: Diageo, Heineken and Swatch Group.
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Are you seriously thinking that 007 will save GDPs around the world. We heard the same sort of crap about iPhone5, and how GDP would go up 1-percent. The Black Swan event there was the Foxcomm strike in China because the pig-faced-goons of the Mandarin Labor Barons behave just like all the other Labor Barons toward their workers. Man, you are shaken and you are stirred and do you need a drink.
By the way... are you idiots going to at least show a Road Runner Cartoon???
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