Blog: The man with the golden lager - is Bond still working for Heineken?
Andy Morton | 8 July 2014
It has been about two years since Heineken sponsored the 23rd James Bond movie, Skyfall.
Remember when the brewer scored a huge marketing coup by arranging a scene in which the British super spy takes a break from saving the world with a cold glass of Heineken lager?
I certainly did last night as I lay tucked up in bed with the latest James Bond novel, Solo, set in Africa. The book is the second in a series of James Bond “imaginings” written by well-known authors (Solo is by William Boyd) that try to tap into Ian Fleming's signature writing style while offering a bit more for the modern reader.
So far, it's a great book.
But I did get something of a surprise when in chapter six Bond does something unusual. He is in a restaurant with a beautiful woman (that's not the unusual part) and after scanning a desultory wine menu orders the local beer. I'll let Boyd continue the story.
“It was something of a first for him to drink beer with dinner, but the lager was light and very cold.”
The beer is called Green Star. Sound familiar?
Heineken assures me the reference is pure coincidence and nothing to do with them. If not, then they've really lucked out - Green Star is mentioned a further four times in the book as Bond develops a taste for it.
The book was published in September last year, long after Skyfall dropped out of the cinemas, so it's not out with the realms of reason that author Boyd meant it as an in-joke, using the famous red star of Heineken and its trademark green bottle to invent his African thirst-quencher.
If so, it's another marketing coup for the Dutch firm. International brewers are clamouring to stake their claim in Africa. I met Heinken's Africa GM last month and he spoke eloquently of the company's focus on the potential of this massive market.
Having the world's greatest spy as a consumer might just be the edge they are looking for.
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