The new Heineken Casino Royale ad is not good. That much is obvious. But I thought it might be interesting to analyse exactly who muffed up here. Was it the client? The director? The creative team? The account team?
For me, the client has done a good job. He has briefed the agency to link his brand to an appropriate property. James Bond is global, suave and premium. Just like Heineken should be.
The account team too have done a good job. They have delivered an ad that delivers this link. The branding is clear, relevant, and not overpowering.
The creative team can't be blamed either. The script idea is sound. James Bond's girlfriend worries that a waiter delivering a Heinken to their room has in fact come to kill the celebrated British agent, so she decks the unfortunate minion... who in fact turns out to be completely innocent.
No, the guilty party here is the director. First off, he fails to establish that the woman is Bond's girlfriend. (He could have done this by showing them in bed together at the beginning, for example.) As a result, the viewer has no idea that she wants to protect Bond. For all we know, she could be wanting to kill him herself.
Then he fails to establish the misdirect that the waiter plans to kill Bond. Yes, the receptionist and the waiter are a little bit sinister, but there's not nearly enough false information to genuinely make the viewer suspicious of them. If anything, the viewer is just mystified as to why the girl is so worried.
Finally, he bungles the end gag. The part where she takes out the waiter is well handled. But then surely there should have been a reaction shot from the girl, a 'whoops' moment, where she realises she's just knocked an innocent man unconscious. Without that, the ending is flat, and phoney.
So in summary it's not the client, account team, or creatives who get the turkey sandwiches, but the director, Stephen Gaghan.
(Actually, this isn't his first over-confused strip of celluloid. Anyone seen Syriana?)