The significance of brands in the Bond novels

Many thoroughly researched book chapters, media articles, and blogs have been penned that list the brands that can be found in the novels but few expand on what they tell us about Bond and Fleming, nor what positioning these brands enjoyed when Fleming conceived the books.

In fact across the span of novels Fleming could be said to be generous with his inclusion of brand names not least because he did not benefit personally from their appearance. These were not product placements, the terminology used when brands are featured in the films (or other media for that matter) for some form of fee or consideration, and a term which is sometimes misused by journalists and others. And because he was generous, I do not claim this as a definitive list but only an introduction as each book will be dealt with individually, starting with The Man with the Golden Gun.

When Fleming wrote Casino Royale (1953), the first Bond novel, the names of real rather than fictional brands were introduced into the narrative. In this, Fleming was a pioneer. We read of Bond’s Bentley with the supercharger by Amherst Villiers (an engineer and friend of Fleming); that his martini is made with Gordon’s gin, Smirnoff vodka, and the French aperitif Kina Lillet, while Taittenger and Veuve Cliquot are the two champagnes of choice.

1950s advertisement from the US.

Fleming was not a great literary writer. Deliberately so. He knew his readership. He knew plot and structure. Indeed at this he was a master. He often called upon his own experience, ego, and lifestyle to pepper the narrative. As he readily admitted, his characterisations were black and white with little shading. His writing was economical, a by-product of his training in journalism. He eschewed flourishes, exposition, and obscurity. This approach is just as true in his non-fiction writing where description is naturally to the fore. Take Thrilling Cities for example, he never uses long metaphysical descriptions of a city but instead anecdotally describes his experiences and encounters to bring alive the qualities of the place. (Though as he fell ill towards the end of his life, his writing deteriorated.)

The American Restaurant in Hong Kong that Fleming visited and was later featured in Thrilling Cities.

The brands were mostly, although not exclusively, luxury items and their use was, in part, a device that fitted perfectly with Fleming’s writing style. They were a short hand, used to quickly sketch a portrait of Bond, and show that here was a man of some taste and discernment. They created a realism within the narrative because everyone, even if they didn’t buy the brands, would recognise them. In that sense, Fleming was juggling the contradiction of Bond’s fantasy and real world. As critically they showed that even outside his job, Bond moved in a different world to the majority of readers. Their inclusion meant that Fleming could dispense with lengthy, detailed descriptions or a back story that would slow the plot’s pacing.

Fleming, too, was not adept at subtle descriptions of people. Because he was insular and self-absorbed, and not someone who naturally liked people beyond a close circle of friends, he was not deeply interested in the human traits of others – which is why his descriptions of Bond (and other characters) are flimsy when it comes to their inner emotions and motivations. But perhaps at times deliberately so. At the end of Moonraker (1955), Fleming wrote,

‘The tough man of the world. The Secret Agent. The man who was only a silhoutte.’ Fleming did not want to give too much away about the real Bond, and in one way this was a useful device as it allowed the reader, to a degree, to inhabit the character.

Hence the use of brands was also a way to paint a sometimes quirky 3-dimensional character for Bond without having to delve too deeply into the man himself.

Fleming knew that many if not most of his readers would not consume the same products as Bond and his circle, even less so outside the London metropolis. When he was writing Casino Royale, postwar Britain was a fusty, drear place. London and other cities were still places where bomb sites were littered across the landscape.

Post-war London. Photo by Ken Russell. ©Ken Russell Estate

He knew he had to create a sense of aspiration and not just fantasy to draw the reader in and take them away from the banality of their everyday lives. In fact few would have even encountered these brands not least, as in the early and mid-fifties, the UK was still living in times of austerity (not the US for sure but then so far as Fleming knew his book was not going to be published beyond the cliffs of Dover).

In those days even if a reader had the money, it was not possible to walk into a supermarket and buy a bottle of champagne even if it was affordable. Not a problem for Bond for while he would purchase these things with Her Majesty’s money when on assignment, when not working he would dip into the independent income that supplemented his rather middling civil servant’s salary. Besides being a man of taste, he was not hard-up. His total net annual income in the middle 1950s was £2000 (we learn in Moonraker). Compare this to the average UK wage of about £400; or to a member of parliament at the time was paid an annual salary of £1000 plus expenses.

It was unlikely that Bond would be found in a supermarket such as Sainsbury’s.

Of course Bond would have not lived anywhere else but London but despite the economic hardships of the early post-war period, the capital could still rightly claim that it was a world leader for goods of quality and craftsmanship. It was also said that anyone walking the streets in the centre would regularly be close to (even if unaware) an international crook, a literary genius, the aristocracy, spies and a whole range of the rich and famous.

Book readership soared in the 1950s; consumption of the printed word was voracious across all classes of society. Back then few people bought the hardback but would wait until the paperback edition appeared, in some instances the Book Society version, or they borrowed books from their local public library. With Bond, the first Pan edition appeared in 1955. Then the Daily Express started to serialise them in comic strip form. The range of books available was wide: from trashy pot boilers, through middle brow fiction to the new wave of British writers. Books were just as much a means to escape into a fantasy world as the cinema because, of course, in the 50s, penetration of television was low. Fleming clearly possessed an instinctive sense of how to create a world that would appeal to a broad readership.

Ist edition from Pan-Books. Roger Hill created the artwork and is the first published representation of James Bond. Here in his white dinner jacket very much the smoothest of operators.

In terms of the brands chosen, what do they tell us about Bond and Fleming? Fleming used brands deliberately and cleverly. They were not just thrown in nor whimsically chosen. Fleming’s novels work and grip the reader by the throat because they juxtapose the authentic and sometimes the mundane with the world of fantasy and sado-masochism. It allowed the reader the licence to read without guilt. One minute Bond is having his testicles battered with a carpet beater, then next he is enjoying a rather prosaic toast and marmalade for breakfast. This make Bond seem real rather than some shallow character on the page.

They create – even if a tenuous connection – a link between Bond and the often humdrum life of the reader. As they ate their toast and read that morning’s Daily Express over breakfast perhaps they envisaged themselves sharing Bond’s world, and certainly they could take comfort with that reassuring knowledge that we all share a little in common with our heroes. As the politician and Labour Party leader Hugh Gaitskell said at the time: ‘The combination of sex, violence, and alcohol and – at intervals – good food is, to one who lives a circumscribed life as I do, irresistible.’ And, as was learnt some time later, he found Fleming’s wife Ann irresistible as the two enjoyed an affair.

Front page, Daily Express, May 9, 1952.

Fleming’s use of brands is also clever not least because he only concentrates on four categories: food, drink, cars and to a lesser extent clothes and toiletries. In other words the essentials for any bachelor who wishes to live the highlife. Forget books or music, wallpaper, furniture or any of the other things we would find in today’s glossy lifestyle magazines. And certainly no mention of the trivia of the average reader’s life such as tools and garden sheds. But then not a single mention of a TV either.

Fleming was a genius at not letting peripheral details sink the narrative. In part this was because Fleming readily admitted that Bond was a humourless and rather dull man. He was not going to send him to the opera or music hall during his time off. Bond would not flick through a copy of House & Garden and ponder on how to redecorate his flat, what this season’s ‘in’ colour was predicted to be, and whether he should be using Tibor Reich fabrics.

Tibor Reich would be too colourful for Bond’s tastes.

But once or twice lapses creep in, when either Fleming uses an inappropriate brand, or one that does not match Bond’s usual style. Yet we know that Fleming wrote almost subconsciously and, he always said, with the minimal of effort. The words tumbled through the keys of his typewriter not least because he was replaying aspects of his own life as well as his fantasies. There were brands he knew well – but sometimes on occasion they reflect Fleming’s lack of knowledge about things.

He had an interest but was not an expert on cars, and had little interest in any detailed knowledge of food or wine, so in his books he turned to brands that had well-established images in the 1950s and 60s. The Bentley was the car of playboys, sportsmen, rogues, and men who lived on the extremities, and while their racing days were long over the aura of the Bentley Boys still shone brightly. A reader would not doubt that this was an appropriate car for Bond, even if it wasn’t in fact the best Bentley from that early 1930s period. However a car aficionado would readily argue it was a car well past its prime, and question why Bond would be driving something so old-fashioned when better cars were now available. Bond was not the sort of man who would be wearing a wartime bomber jacket.

When Fleming was writing those early Bond novels, a Bentley 4.5 litre could still be found listed on the Cars For Sale pages of Autosport – although Bond had bought his example pre-war. A car that needed work was being sold for £100, another in pristine condition was on sale for £350. Conversely a 1951 Allard was going for £795; an Alvis Speed for £475, and an MG TD for £595. In truth, surprising as it may now seem, an old Bentley was not a sought after car.

It took a little time for Fleming to realise this, and then rightly he decides that it should be written off with a certain amount of dignity rather than being sold to a secondhand car dealer. Once despatched, Bond turns to an Aston Martin DB3, albeit a pool car, before returning to a more modern but still boring Bentley Continental despite its modifications. Fleming did not know his cars.

Gordon’s is an interesting choice too. Certainly not exclusive, as it was one of a handful of well-known brands in the 1950s, and along with Beefeater was definitely mass-market. However in this instance Fleming fell back on his own knowledge as he was said to be a big gin drinker. At his club Boodles, they served a house brand, Boodles British Gin, one that was also favoured by Winston Churchill. However, when Fleming was writing in Goldeneye, Gordon’s was the brand that was readily available on the island as it was a brand that enjoyed distribution worldwide. It would be no good featuring a brand that could only be found deep in the recesses of London’s club land – or at least only sparingly outside. As is well known, Fleming was fastidious about this sort of detail to ensure he made as few mistakes as possible. He did not want readers writing to him to point out that it was ludicrous for Bond to be ordering some obscure gin such Boodles, Cornhill or Warrington while drinking in some continental bar as these would not be available.

1950s advertisement for Gordon’s London Gin.

Still he made Gordon’s exotic by mixing it in a martini rather than in the ubiquitous gin and tonic. (Well true for the UK but not so true for the US where the martini originated, and where the cocktail habit was a well-established.) Still, by the second book Live and Let Die Bond had switched to vodka as gin was falling out of fashion, although in the original Vesper martini, Smirnoff had been one of the ingredients. Smifnoff was the only well-known vodka brand that was readily available in the 1950s, and still regarded as a genuine Russian spirit – rather ironic of course. But despite being well-known it was not a popular drink either in the US where whiskey still held the top spot or in the UK. Felix Leiter ordered a Vesper for Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1956), but now using Cresta Blanca instead of the Kina Lillet.

“Made with Cresta Blanca,” explained Leiter. “New domestic brand from California. Like it?”

“Best Vermouth I ever tasted.”

1958 advertisement for the Cresta Blanca Tripe-Dry White Vemmouth.

It seems to me that Bond’s line about Cresta Blanca being the best is either a rather polite throwaway or could even be read as a little sarcastic. Fleming was wrong about it being a new brand. Cresta Blanca was a winery founded in 1883 in California that initially produced red and white wines. Quite when the vermouth was first produced is shrouded in mystery (well unknown) but the brand was advertising by 1946 as I have seen ads in Life magazine from that year, while a 1942 ad for the Cresta wine range does not include it. So the vermouth was at least ten years old, although not much older, which still falls outside my definition of new. And whether it was the best Bond had tasted? If it was this seriously undermines his drinking credentials: although details are sketchy, it would appear that the vermouth was not made in the best European tradition and was more a chemical concoction than a blend of botanicals not least because wormwood was banned in the US – and this was a key ingredient in any vermouth. Possibly Fleming was now playing to the American market. Certainly in 1962, in an interview conducted with The New Yorker, Fleming is quoted as claiming, ‘..and American vermouth is the best in the world.’ He also thought that the American version of Camembert was better than the French, which further undermines Fleming’s credentials as a food and wine expert.

He claimed to be a fan of Miller Highlife.

While driving to Saratoga with Felix Leiter in Diamonds Are Forever, they stop for lunch at The Chicken in the Basket. They order scrambled eggs, sausages and hot buttered rye toast, washed down with Millers Highlife.

‘I like the name High Life,’ Fleming said. ‘That’s why I order it.’ This when having lunch in the Rotunda, The Pierre, New York.

The Rotunda.

Fleming is on familiar territory when it comes to bourbon as this was one of his own drinks of choice: Old Grandad was his favoured bourbon but he drank others too including Jack Daniels, Walkers and I W Harper, and outside of the books Fleming could wax lyrical about them.

Surprisingly, despite being half-Scot, Fleming appears to go out of his way to eschew promotion of the Scottish tipple. This is easy to explain though: Scotch was a deeply old-fashioned drink in the 1950s. Bond, a man of the world, sitting back in his armchair, pipe in hand, drinking a Scotch? No way. Fleming too did not drink Scotch. In fact, the only brand to get a mention is the dimpled bottled Haig & Haig. Now in truth Bond was partial to his Haig and soda and comes back to it regularly when in the New World. It was one of the more popular whiskeys that could be found behind most bars, selling for about 70 cents a shot, though sometimes it is only referred to as a Scotch and soda. His companion in arms Felix Leiter was also partial to a Scotch and soda but then the drink still retained a fashionability in the US.

Early 1950s Haig advertising that appeared in the US.

Bond is not someone who pops into his local pub, which of course was where most drinking would take place over a pint of bitter or mild. In fact pubs in the ’50s did not serve wine or champagne, although they did sell sherries, ports and spirits. Instead, as in Casino Royale, his drinking takes place in restaurants or hotel bars. Often we find him drinking in his hotel room. Now who could afford that? And was there room service in a seaside B&B? If he did use a pub, then surely it would have been the King’s Head and Eight Bells on Cheyne Row, which was the haunt of Chelsea intellectuals and not far from his flat.

The King’s Head and Eight Bells in the 1950s.

Back to Casino Royale: Bond suggests that Taittinger Blanc de Blancs Brut 1943 is ‘probably the finest champagne in the world.’ In Moonraker, published only two years later, Bond says that Taittinger was ‘only a fad of mine’ and instead he drank Dom Pérignon. Was this also a fad of Fleming’s? However Taittinger pops again several times so we can conclude that this was certainly a preferred house. Interesting that Fleming should chose Taittinger. It was a new house having been founded only in the 1930s, and in the early 1950s was not even distributed in the US. On the other hand its Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs – a chardonnay-based champagne – was perceived as a revolution in the champagne world as it was lighter and less sweet than most champagnes of the period. This would not be known to most readers but some might be au fait, and nod at Fleming for having an eye for the a la mode.

However it was with champagne that Fleming made one mistake: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo goes to the bar in the casino and orders a half bottle of Pol Roget. However Pol Roget at the time were the only house that did not produce half bottles.

M of course is also a man of taste: he enjoys his Mouton Rothschild (as did Bond in OHMSS when he drank the centenary edition from 1953), and Wolfschmidt vodka, while not forgetting Beluga caviar. Bond shares these with M but elsewhere also drinks chianti, and Liebfraulmilch in Live and Let Die (1954). Yes this is correct. Now we might laugh but back then, we’re talking mid 1950s, drinking demi-sec wine was common place among those who drank wine. According to The Guardian, in the 1950s, Liebfraumilch was so fashionable that it sold for the same price as a second growth Bordeaux. And it was internationally well-known. So ticks all the boxes. Not that wine drinking was anywhere near as popular in the 50s as it is now. This shown, for example, by the famous Oak Room in New York who had all of six wines on its menu in 1958; and the London Dorchester in 1955 served only three house wines that were simply described as white, red and rose, with a large carafe selling for 15 shillings. (This was a typical price at any London restaurant.) More often, diners would drink beer, lagers or cider cups.

Very few restaurants stocked anything other than house wine. Escargot on Greek Street was an honourable exception as well as being one of a handful of restaurants that served decent French food. Another was L’Etoile on Charlotte Street. Belle Meuniere was also on Charlotte Street and its specialities included escalope maison, Viande de boeuf bane, and crepe suzette. At Pere Auguste, pate maison, and cold veal pie were both specialities. So while it is often noted that Bond’s tastes were simple in fact these reflected the times. In most British restaurants, fish was more readily available than meat. There were a fist of decent Italian restaurants in London like Quo Vadis on Dean Street; and Greek such as Crete on Percy Street. (And not forgetting The White Tower on the same street but that is mentioned elsewhere.)

Fleming though, was not a wine drinker, which is why he rarely mentions it in the novels. He drank martinis, brandy and bourbon.

Through two mentions in the novels we learn that Bond wore a Rolex Oyster Perpetual, although the detail of the model is not learnt until 1963 with the publication of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. However there are numerous mentions of time and the need for a watch, without the brand being named in the earlier books except for Live and Let Die when the Rolex brand name is used but no model mentioned. In the intervening years, Bond was said in fact, ‘to use fairly cheap, expendable wrist watches on expanding metal bracelets which can be slipped forward over the thumb and used in the form of a knuckle-duster, either on the outside or the inside of the hand.’ This rather contradicts what Fleming wrote in Casino Royale that ‘a gentleman’s choice of timepiece says as much about him as does his Savile Row suit.’ He seems to have forgotten this for a number of years. (Or perhaps Bond’s employers HMG, became fed-up replacing the Rolex and insisted he wear something cheap.)

But why Rolex? In 1953, not only did the Oyster scale the heights of Everest but it was also submerged to a depth of 10,350 feet affixed outside a bathyscaphe. Rolex has always enjoyed a certain cache – as it still does – was well known as it advertised extensively, and it was certainly a brand that Fleming wore towards the end of his life. On the other hand, there is no evidence that Fleming was a connoisseur or much interested when it comes to time pieces until this last watch (and his step daughter confirmed it was the first Rolex he wore). It was a Rolex Explorer bought in the early 1960s, and which later was an exhibit at the Imperial War Museum, London, exhibition in 2008.

Rolex was the world’s first diver’s watch, although this was not launched until after the publication of Casino Royale. In truth, by the time Fleming came round to actually identifying the watch, Commander Bond could not just wear any old watch. It could only be a Rolex.

Bond certainly would not wear a fancy dress watch no matter how exclusively expensive – such as the plain gold Patek Philippe worn by Drax in Moonraker. These were for the villains to wear. A second villain wore Girard Perregaux; in this instance Red Grant in From Russia With Love (1957). In fact it was Fleming’s friend and editor William Plomer who suggested this brand as Fleming was unsure what brand to use. It could be argued that a Girard Perregaux was wholly inappropriate for a street fighting villain. And then in Thunderball (1961) a villain wears ‘a solid gold Rolex Oyster Perpetual Chronometer on a flexible gold bracelet.’ (I would ass tacky here.)

My conclusion is that like cars, Fleming was no expert when it came to watches.

Interestingly, in terms of fashion we never learn who tailored his suits other than the passing mention of Savile Row. When Fleming was writing some thirty tailors could be found in and around Savile Row, all representing a great tradition of craftsmanship that had been built up over centuries. A suit would cost in the region of £60 plus the cost of the material.

There is the same absence of brand names with the shirts or shoes our agent wore, which is an interesting omission as Fleming was a fastidious dresser. However a reasonable argument can be put forward for this: tailoring is a personal thing. The height of discretion was required. It was unlikely that Fleming’s tailors and shirt makers would want to be dressing a thug and killer. Hardly the brand values they (and their customers) would wish to be associated with. Indeed, at the time, it was not possible to just turn up at the door. An introduction was needed from an existing customer. So discretion was the word – otherwise Fleming might have ended up barred from Savile Row and Jermyn Street.

When it comes to toiletries Fleming is also rather discrete for reasons unknown as these would be a ready cypher to show Bond’s heightened taste, and the brand owners would be less sensitive. He came late to mentioning a Gillette razor in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963) and later a Hoffritz, a brand that most readers would not have heard of unless they were US based. More baffling is the fact that there were any number of luxury brands selling razors, which Fleming eschewed, although Gillette were a very good product. He could have used dunhill for example.

In passing Fleming mentions various Floris products in a number of novels such as Floris Lime bath essence in Dr No (1958). He also mentions Guerlain bath cubes and Guerlain’s Sapoceti Fleur Des Alpes’ in the book’s seduction scene. Lenthéric After Shave Lotion can also be found in Dr No’s bathroom. French yes but not a brand with huge cache but this and the other products did say a lot about the man. Fleming probably decided that being French was enough, particularly as the use of after shave was a minority habit and limited to brands such as Old Spice.

In fact it was only from the mid-sixties onwards that the men’s fragrance market blossom. Which explains why when in From Russia With Love (1957) Tatiana says to Bond ‘odd that you in the West do not use perfume. All our men do.’ Bond replies, ‘We wash.’ This was untrue. British men in particular were renowned for their lax habits when it came to washing behind the ears even when they had a bar of Lifebouy soap in their hands. However he did the use the very down-to-earth Macleans toothpaste in The Man with the Golden Gun.

Fleming was known to use Floris No. 89 Eau de Toilette, although in the ’50s, Floris recommended that men use their No. 127 which had been first made for a Russian aristocrat living in Paris.

Still if Bond did not dab perfume on his face that did not stop him stocking Floris bath essence for his own use. In Diamonds Are Forever (1956), Bond ponders on what tasks await when he is back in London, ‘He would have to send a cable to May to get things fixed. Let’s see – flowers, bath essence from Floris, air the sheets….’ (Of course he may have enjoyed other uses for them.)

Finally on the subject of toiletries, Bond in OHMSS did use Elixir shampoo, another French brand. Bond ‘washed his hair with Pinaud Elixir, that prince among shampoos, to get the dust of the roads out of it,’ we read. If many people’s experience of shampoo was Vosene in the UK or Ivory in the US it can been seen why this would come across as louche and decadent. Pinaud too was a long established brand and claimed all sorts of aristocratic associations and royal warrants. It was also a name that was well established in the US by the 1950s although it had a middle market position there.

A brand that would not be in everyone’s lexicon was a cigarette blend from Morland, also smoked by Fleming, a specialist brand from London, and certainly not on sale at the corner newsagents. It was likely that Bond would buy them from Morland’s Grosvenor Street store when he shuttled between his Chelsea flat and Universal Exports near Regent’s Park. (It would appear that if he didn’t drive he would take a taxi.) They were lit, as we learn in Moonraker (1955), with Bond’s simple Ronsen lighter. Not a fancy dunhill lighter – that was used by a villain, who also owned an even fancier Faberge cigarette case.

Interestingly Bond does not relax by smoking a cigar, other than one time in Moonraker (1955) when he smokes a cheroot while playing cards with Drax. Elsewhere on his travels he does smoke occasionally light up a local cigarette brand – not surprising as with his three pack a day habit he would have soon run out of Moreland.

The only grocery brands mentioned are those that Bond spreads on toast: Frank Cooper’s Vintage Oxford Marmalade, Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve, and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum & Mason; the coffee he drinks is from De Bry. (These being on Fleming’s breakfast table too.) Bond also reads The Times: a conservative newspaper favoured by the Establishment; he was not one to rock the boat or turn the pages of the Manchester Guardian.

Vintage Oxford was readily available across the UK, although the mass-market brands were Robertson’s and Hartley’s. Tiptree while not exclusive was upmarket and their Little Scarlet was Tiptree’s best known product, made with wild strawberries that they grew themselves.

Fortnum & Mason could be found at 181 Piccadilly, and was the pre-eminent supplier of grocery items to the aristocracy and wealthy. Back in 1738 they invented the Scotch Egg for travellers – though there is no record of Bond taking any on his travels.

De Bry was a long established shop that could be found on Oxford Street, the Brompton Road, and Marble Arch. It was a shop that was favoured by intellectual London: Virginia Woolf, for example, mentions buying coffee there in September 1939; and the Marble Arch branch was another store that Bond would pass on his way to and from the office. (Assuming that his housekeeper did not do all the shopping or that he had home deliveries.)

The coffee was brewed in a Chemex glass coffee maker which was definitely outré at a time when most coffee drunk at home in the UK was instant, made either with something like Nescafe granules or Camp liquid coffee essence. Here the US was ahead as making proper coffee was common in US households.

Fleming often used brands to add detail to the narrative such as the Japan Air Lines bag or Suntory whiskey in You Only Live Twice (1964). Somewhat oddly, he did not name any of the sake brands that Bond drank copiously throughout the novel. Calvet claret appears in From Russia With Love. While in Turkey he smokes Diplomate (a brand that did exist but now long gone). In The Spy Who Loved Me (1962), he managed to insert eight brand names into a description of a motel room. Somewhat over the top.

It is not only consumption of these luxury brands: it is the way they are consumed. Bond does this comfortably and naturally even when in a foreign environement. He is not someone who will use chopsticks the wrong way round.

Of course the appearance of brands in the books is very different to their use as product placements in the films. Here the brand is seeking rather than giving endorsement. The brands hope to benefit from what is now called affinity marketing, that is the halo effect that rubs off on them.

Fleming did not benefit financially from using the brands. In one letter he wrote ‘my books are spattered with branded products of one sort or another as I think it is stupid to invent bogus names for products that are household words.’ Fleming claimed he never even received any thanks from the manufacturers, with the one exception being Floris and Ferrari. When he had lunch with Len Deighton in March 1963, he did ask whether Deighton had received any corporate gifts arising from his own introduction of products. We don’t know Deighton’s answer but Fleming had gone on to explain that he had written to Ferrari to say that he had favourably mentioned their cars only to receive a letter that was enthusiastic but offering no more than putting Fleming at the top of the buyers list for when they next launched a new model in the UK. Not wishing to spend so much money on a car, Fleming had written to them asking that they ‘defer this generous opportunity to the distant future.’

So all the choices were uninfluenced by any payment or other commercial pressure.


Dell Deaton, February 2009 issue of WatchTime

Felicity Cloake, Wed 20 Oct 2010. The Guardian

John Mullan, December 28, 2002, The Guardian

The playboy and James Bond: 007, Ian Fleming, and Playboy magazine by Claire Hines

The Life of Ian Fleming, John Pearson. Bloomsbury Academic. Republished 2013.

Ian Fleming, Andrew Lycett. W&M, 1996.

The Definitive Story of You Only Live Twice, Graham Thomas (On Amazon.)

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