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  1. Jacob Lund, Verina Gfader, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Geoff Cox
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Equally, the video games accompanying the films reassemble the material and expressive properties of the brand, and allow fans to engage and reengage with them outside of the scope of the films. Further legitimizing actions are derived from EON-supported exhibitions, such as Designing Bond , developed in conjunction with the Barbican arts center in London, which subsequently toured globally. Here, the material elements of the brand assemblage were presented in the context of a museum exhibition, allowing those attending to re-engage with the brand.

Finally, the merchandise—ranging from dolls to lunch boxes, watches to jigsaw puzzles—allows audiences to bring Bond into their own lives for daily consumption, at whichever price range suits them. We see that while many of the tactics employed by EON aim at assuring longevity, there is, nevertheless, a danger of becoming too comfortable. Therefore, it is necessary to understand how the producers ensure each Bond offering is current by looking inward to the broad set of options available based on the formula, from which they create an ephemeral form for each film.

This meso-level assemblage is also created from a set of possible agents, who then collectively assert legitimacy on the micro-level assemblage. Yet, equally, in bringing together these elements of the assemblage, the meso-level draws on the wider macro-environment in territorializing the BBA, as discussed below. This process can be described as having your cake and throwing it like a custard pie. To demonstrate how the serial brand has retained social salience, we focus on how the production team considered the sociocultural context in enrolling elements into the films.

In the case of the BBA, the most prominent sociocultural elements are: geopolitical changes, gender changes, and the evolution of popular films see figure 1. Attention to the sociocultural context has served to territorialize the films themselves as assemblages.

Web appendix B traces the evolution of the franchise by showing the different sociocultural elements that have been enrolled and unenrolled from the wider set of the macro-brand assemblage, providing a map of cultural change in the West. What is the world worried about, now or in the next couple of years? Dodds argues that location in James Bond movies is central to establishing tension. The locations are not usually major powers themselves, but at the margins of the geopolitical order, where major powers battle for the fate of the world. The stories also reflect changing images of Britain, the United States, and the world from a Western perspective: depicting shifts in the Cold War and addressing themes such as the space race, nuclear confrontation, drugs, and, recently, cyberterrorism Black Mapping key news stories to storylines and geopolitical positions within the films demonstrates the relevance of the assembled storylines to the external geopolitical context.

While casting is clearly relevant at the micro-level, its expressive potential is also significant at the macro-level, particularly in the villain, who is often the key focus of the plot as Bond is pitted against him. Where are we headed? At times, the films have foreshadowed current events, as with Dr. No , which anticipated the Cuban Missile Crisis 4 Chapman By enrolling contemporary backdrops for the historically constituted micro-assemblage, the serial brand maintains relevance. Although the Bond films are often considered as ideologically rooted in the Cold War, examination of the brand series shows that the Bond formula considers a wider set of possibilities from which to create a nested assemblage, associated with a broader geopolitical assemblage in ideological terms.

Reviews of the BBC archive On This Day , which contains the significant news stories of the Cold War period, illustrate the decline in news about the Cold War after the s, which necessitated the enrollment of new geopolitical backdrops. Therefore Wilson took inspiration from real-life drug lords for the villain of Licence to Kill. Indeed, Tomorrow Never Dies is replete with topical references: screenwriter Bruce Feirstein had written for magazines owned by Murdoch and had firsthand knowledge of how media moguls operate Duncan To pinpoint the source of the threat, the production team looked outward: there had been friction between China and Taiwan, and the film once again reflected the international political situation through references to Chinese military strength.

Like many of its predecessors, the film also foregrounds technology, recalling the media coverage of the Gulf War in which smart weapons had been portrayed as the most efficient and clinical means of hitting enemy targets. The documentary Bond Girls Are Forever traces the year evolution of the Bond girl, demonstrating how, as gender politics evolved, the role of the Bond girl broadened.

They were primarily passive and two-dimensional—there to add a sexual context to the film rather than to aid Bond, commodities to be consumed by Bond and subsequently discarded. In Dr. No , where the women are presented in various states of undress, from a bikini to a towel to a shirt unbuttoned and draped off one shoulder, and, finally, to a dress with a thigh-high slit. This changed as Bond moved into the s, when feminism was coming into play. While still not a feminist ideal, the Bond girls evolved through the s, s, and s, reflecting a recognition among the producers, screenwriters, and the actresses that the role of women in society was changing, and that female roles must shift with these social changes.

The girls became more prominent as the franchise progressed, with later Bond girls getting greater screen time. James Bond. This is more than twice the salary that former male model George Lazenby…will get for taking over as the new from Sean Connery. Furthermore, in the wider franchise, there were still low points, one of which is in The Man with the Golden Gun , where Bond roughs up Andrea, played by Maud Adams.

Despite some hitches, an evolution is clear, as demonstrated in Bond Girls Are Forever. We see a move from Jill St. A former army pilot, Pam can actually help Bond.

Although Pam may be assertive at the start of the film, by the end she has adopted a more conventional nice girl-next-door role. The evolution of the role of women reflects the enrolling of relevant sociocultural elements as central to the BBA. Moreover, this evolution was set against changes in the Bond character, represented by the different Bond actors.

Jacob Lund, Verina Gfader, Anne Kølbæk Iversen, Geoff Cox

By , Michelle Yeoh Tomorrow Never Dies acknowledged that her character is a 90s woman, aggressive and confident, who could do anything that Bond could. Nudity was reduced, and the girls became tougher and more active. Despite media intrigue about whether a female Bond could be possible, although the Bond films move with the times, they do not challenge the status quo:. As an entertainment brand, the films are culturally relevant in terms of reflecting the latest fads and fashions found in popular culture. The biggest laugh in Dr.

No , director Peter Hunt claimed, came from having the recently stolen Goya portrait of the Duke of Wellington on Dr. When Bond and the blonde are marched into Dr.

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This assembling of popular culture is applicable not only in terms of entertainment, but also in terms of technology. Designer Ken Adam recalled how, for Dr. This enrollment of technology into the assemblage was particularly obvious in terms of the gadgets used. This extended to cutting-edge film production technology. The Man with the Golden Gun , for example, is the first significant production to feature a computer-designed stunt.


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Illustrating the importance of relatable gadgetry to the BBA as a whole, EON collaborated with the Barbican arts center in curating an exhibition that showcased the production and set design of the films. This assembling of popular culture is most notable in terms of following filmic trends. While Bond has been a British production, the films are underpinned by global film trends.

This was clear from the start of the series. Reviewing Dr.

No has the kind of rock-hard competence more usually associated with Hollywood. We had to get away from the gentlemanly spy. His words were well heeded by the producers in their next installment, Casino Royale. Taking an assemblage perspective, we can see how the nested sets of assemblages interact. The formula provides a decoded micro-assemblage, which the production team can then assemble in order to reflect and respond to the wider macro-assemblage. There are cascading effects in both directions, bottom-up in terms of the structure of the films and top-down in terms of their themes.

While we are not the first to note the significance of the role the James Bond films have in representing sociocultural contexts, we demonstrate how this topicality is necessary, but not sufficient, for brand longevity—it needs to be configured in the right way. In terms of generating brand meaning, since the transmission of a Bond film by ITV on Christmas Day has established a regular, meaningful place for Bond in the way of life of British people.

We answer the question: how do serial brands attain longevity within evolving sociocultural contexts? Through our selection of six films, which represent specific ideological and sociocultural themes, we demonstrate how Bond has been continuously adapted in response to changing circumstances. While many cultural and media theorists have examined the Bond franchise, they have done so on a film-by-film chronological basis.

We argue that the longevity of the serial brand cannot be accounted for in this manner; rather, there is a need to examine the franchise as an assemblage operating at multiple levels, where various elements are enrolled and unenrolled in different combinations to allow for continuity and change. In the next three sections, we explore how our theorization of brand longevity articulates the process of managing continuity and change in securing brand longevity, illustrate how this increases our understanding of past consumer research, and offer potential directions for future research.

Our analysis offers a way to manage the brand assemblage to achieve brand longevity. Parmentier and Fischer catalogue the decline of a serial brand when new components are enrolled into the brand assemblage, signaling consumer desire for continuity and the risks involved in changing an established formula. Rather than seeing instances of stabilization and destabilization of practices as problematic, we theorize that such deterritorialization and reterritorialization is necessary to sustain the brand and achieve longevity.

While endurance has long been a concern in branding studies Aaker ; Brown et al. Figure 1 outlines the micro-, meso-, and macro-levels of the brand assemblage. Continuity comes not from retaining a fixed formula through which to assemble specific brand elements, but from seeing such elements as providing possibilities of expression that can be solidified into different configurations through a double-articulation process. In the first articulation, the producers select from the wider possibilities of expression the micro-level, i.

These are coded in the second articulation, whereby the material expressivity is solidified macro-level, i. This entails the need for brand stewardship the producers and other key brand stewards at the meso-level , which looks both inward and outward.

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The brand stewards facilitate the double-articulation process by ensuring a balance is achieved, allowing for continuity and change by selecting from various internal elements of the brand heritage and reconfiguring them in new ways, ensuring evolution in line with external sociocultural contexts.

Each iteration of the brand requires new consideration as to how to achieve this balance by enrolling and unenrolling brand elements as appropriate due to evolving sociocultural contexts.