Monday, November 20, 2017

'Die Another Day' at 15 - A Look at the Poster Campaign

Title treatment logo for Die Another Day: the title is written in red, bold and italic Britannic Bold typography,
one word above the other in a steadfast way. In some pieces the words are placed over the 007 logo, now with
a faux ice texture to coincide with Iceland as one of the most important locations of the story.
Tempus fugit! It has been already 15 years since Die Another Day, the last film starring Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, was released. Since the film also marked the 40th anniversary of the theatrical release of Dr. No and the cinematic 007 franchise, the marketing campaigns took full advantage of a film that would promise quite a few surprising twists for the saga, such as Bond getting captured, incarcerated and tortured after completing a mission.

Die Another Day teaser poster by Intralink Design:
a surprisingly minimalistic way to announce the 
last Bond extravaganza we had to day. 
On May 3rd, 2002, the first teaser poster was revealed. Created by Intralink Design and evoking the cover of John Gardner's novel Icebreaker, the piece featured a Beretta 84FS handgun resting on a melting block of ice with smoke coming out of its silencer. It is one of the few posters not to feature or evoke the image of James Bond in the artwork, and having the standard issue handgun of NSA agent Jinx (Halle Berry) as the most relevant part of the design. Above the gun we see the film's logo, with the title written in italic Britannic Bold red typography, making contrast with the dark background.

As minimalistic as it was, this poster was very colorful and eye popping: many gammas of blue, white and grey were used to give texture to the image and all the elements, from the ice to the gun and the smoke, look as realistic as if the viewer could be able to touch them.

On August 9th, 2002, the official James Bond site unveiled the design of the second teaser poster, this time featuring the principal actors Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry, looking threatening with their guns stretched pointing in an upside-down position. A background with different shades of blue complimented the artwork, which also served as the US Theatrical Poster (a second reprint featured the film's credits). For the first time in the series, the name of the star gets a vanity credit on top of the image in the style of the title font and is renamed in the smaller billing credits. Another first is also marked here: Bond and the leading lady are shown as equals more than sentimental partners, a formula later repeated for the campaigns of Quantum of Solace (2008) with the images of Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko.

US Theatrical Poster for Die Another Day,
designed by the InSync Plus agency, who
also worked on GoldenEye (1995)
For the second teaser poster the marketing department of EON Productions relied once again on the InSync Plus agency (formerly InSync + Belmis and Balkind) who also worked on the GoldenEye (1995) campaigns. On August 23rd, 2002, the same agency released the personality posters featuring five main characters of the film: James Bond, Jinx, Gustav Graves, Miranda Frost and Zao, all against the same blue-hued background and with their names written on an icy-textured Britannic Bold font. These designs were available as vinyl banners for theatres across the globe.

Designer Diane Reynolds-Nash, who previously worked on The World Is Not Enough (1999), was in charge of the theatrical posters released close to the film's premiere on November 2002. The design was basically the same for most territories, but slight differences could be seen among the European and American markets. While both artworks featured Bond and Jinx holding their weapons across a shattering wall of ice where fragments of the films and secondary characters were reflected on the shards, some versions had 007 with an undone bowtie and others without it. At the same time, the explosions behind the stars were bigger and more intense in one of the variants. For unknown reasons, Spain slightly retouched the poster, giving Bond's dinner jacket a blue-ish hue in the design.

After adapting the international poster artwork for their country for a couple of years, the Japanese market recovered their originality by providing red, green, blue and grey hued images of the characters in different poses. All of them were unveiled some time prior to the Nipponese film release on March 2003, considerably later than in most countries.

Personality poster artwork for Die Another Day, designed by the InSync Plus agency.

UK Quad Poster for Die Another Day, designed by Diane Reynolds-Nash. A slightly different variant of this artowrk was used on different countries like the US and Spain.

The Die Another Day posters may look too flashy for today's standars, where most action movies get the minimalistic and desaturated artwork treatment - the Daniel Craig era posters, where the protagonist is set to rather insipid backgrounds, look like a strange cousin in comparison to these pieces. Yet, it is a heartfelt testimony to the days where the 007 films let the drama for a couple of hours and a cocktail of Martinis, girls and guns were at the order of the day.

Apparently, the world has changed while we were away...

Nicolás Suszczyk

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