Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Product Placement and Partnerships Revealed.

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In 2013 NMG Product Placement received a script from Marv Productions, working title ‘The Huntsman.’ It was one of the best scripts we had ever read, so while for others ‘Kingsman: Secret Service’ becoming a massive hit was a surprise, it wasn’t at all unexpected to us.

We had already been advising our clients that this movie, based on a comic book series virtually nobody had ever heard of, was going to be edgy, super stylish and in our opinion a huge box office success. We duly got to work at pre-production stages seeking opportunities that could appeal to our brands.

One of the results of this was NMG’s client appearing through free prop supply in a set piece scene that is already recognised as an iconic piece of film making – not least by who announced, ahead of the release of the much anticipated sequel, a new advertising campaign with meerkats Aleksandr and Sergei joining forces with Harry Hart, played by Colin Firth. The advert is a re make of the exact same scene from the first Kingsman film where Hart is interrupted from enjoying his lovely pint of Guinness to save Eggsy from a gang in a London pub, The Black Prince.

With Kingsman: Secret Service delivering a box office return of over $400 million against a spend of around $80 million it’s not surprising that the sequel Kingsman: The Golden Circle has been appealing to brands seeking to capitalise on the film’s anticipated success through product placement and brand partnerships.

One of the most notable of these has been between the production and premium spirits maker Brown Forman who crafted a unique whisky ‘Statesman’ as part of its Old Forrester brand. Launching a few months ahead of the film’s release the collaboration has not only enabled the brand to feature in the film’s content in perpetuity but has also provided a unique marketing opportunity linked to the film. By taking a creative bourbon storyline and bringing it to life with a brand new product both brand and film appear to have benefited. Certainly for 20th Century Fox the partnership has helped market the film in an unconventional and stylish manner with a snazzy statement promo campaign.

However, the tactical advantage to Old Forrester is somewhat diminished bearing in mind the amount of screen time the brand has overall in the film. With multiple lengthy exposures across a range of scenes it feels like there are almost too many appearances and mentions to count. With over eight separate segments featuring the brand an audience can easily feel weary from such an overload of unsubtle placements, and that can run the risk of reducing both the brand and the film’s credibility.

Not only this, but in a film with a certificate 15 classification, that has two characters ploughing through an entire bottle early on – until only a drop remains and they are left slurring their words and emotional, as well as a scene where the whisky is used to dowse Eggsy and Merlin, who are then threatened with being set a light – questions might be raised about the responsibility of marketing an alcohol brand to a young audience in such an overt manner.

While it is too early to say how successful Kingsman: The Golden Circle will be at the box office, the reviews have been very mixed. Accusations that the film is over long, has a go nowhere plot, wastes the talented cast and is a poor imitation of the original abound. Worse, some critics have noted that The Golden Circle is more ‘misogynist, dumber and meaner’ than Secret Service and that there’s ‘a cruelty and laddishness to a lot of the jokes that feel outdated and grim.’

How does this sit now with Tag Heuer who announced their partnership with the film early on this year on the basis ‘Kingsman means explosions, action, laughter, and, of course, elegance. This is a perfect fit with TAG Heuer’s target market’? While the brand’s appearances in context are relatively inoffensive to most audience goers, it is nevertheless still associated with key fight scenes in a movie which overall has a somewhat more brutish feel than the original. Or The Art of Shaving, who based their partnership with the film on the premise it has ‘‘taken the idea of the modern gentleman from the big screen and turned it into a tangible lifestyle that guys feel inspired by and want to partake in,”

Likewise with Mr Porter who have collaborated with Matthew Vaughn and costume designer Arianne Phillips. A Kingsman clothes collection is available online and via a pop up shop next to Berry Bros (which features in the film) in St James Street, London. The clothes featured in the film are all available for purchase, Eggsy’s orange faille-trimmed cotton-velvet jacket at £1,295 anyone?

And with some critics claiming that within the film ‘killing is done more for delight than duty’ then the charity film partnership between Help For Heroes and 20th Century Fox on Kingsman: The Golden Circle with #OrangeJacketChallenge just seems distinctly odd.

Other brands that feature in the film do well because their placements seem natural and are seamless while still being noticeable. Eggsy wearing Adidas to a festival, Coca-Cola in a burger bar, Jaguar in key car chase scenes, Apple phones and laptops.
With hints and nods towards a Kingsman 3 in this film, it will be interesting to see whether levels of interest from brands will be maintained. One thing is for sure, working with an expert agency such as NMG brings objectiveness, which is essential to maintaining brand integrity, targets and vision. With Kingsman: The Golden Circle we were able to advise our interested clients very early on regarding the nature of the sequel vis-à-vis their brand values thus enabling them to react accordingly.

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