The producers of the newest James Bond film, Spectre, had a difficult sponsorship decision to make before filming of the movie began in one month. Up for consideration was a highly lucrative product promotion with Heineken, which offered both a sizable contribution to the film as well as a high-budget advertising campaign. The studio was looking for any way it could to reduce the cost of the film (which was nearing $250 million), but the producers were concerned about the negative backlash they had unwittingly unleashed when they'd shown Bond drinking a Heineken in Skyfall, as opposed to his usual vodka martini. How should the producers approach the Heineken deal? How could they assess the benefits and risks of associating Bond with a Dutch beer? This potential tension between brand cultures allows for a rich discussion.
Furthermore, the case introduces the concept of "cool" and challenges the students to dive deeper into understanding its four dimensions to answer questions such as "What makes James Bond cool?" "Can James Bond be uncool?" and "How can the brand sustain its coolness in partnership with potentially conflicting brands?"
This case is appropriate for use both in a first-year marketing course as well as a higher-level elective with MBAs and executives. This case would be most impactful if taught along with the technical note "A General Theory of Coolness" (UVA-M-0953), as the framework therein could be applied to expand the current discussion.