The marketing mavens at Oude Meester must have thought they were in line for a mega Christmas bonus from Richard Rushton, their Afro-centric boss at Distell, when speculation surfaced last week that the face of Oude Meester, UK black actor Idris Elba, was being punted as the next James Bond.
Things were looking dodgy for a moment when Ebola raised its ugly face as Idris is the son of a Sierra Leonean and Ghanaian, two Ground Zeros for the dreaded haemorrhagic disease. Brandy battles badly enough not to be linked to Ebola which has decimated tourism to Africa according to fevered urban legend in wine tourism circles.
Promotions filled their dreams like product placement in Spectre, the next James Bond blockbuster. Could James switch from martinis to brandy cocktails even if Belvedere Vodka has already lined up that gig? Did “M” stand for Meester?
Fortune reports that “Moet Hennessy’s Belvedere has signed a marketing and advertising partnership with the Bond producers for the first time in the vodka brand’s history, with plans to piggyback off the film’s high profile throughout 2015. Belvedere has created two limited edition bottles tied to the film, and the company said it is planning its largest global campaign ever in the months leading up to its planned fall release of “Spectre.”” Drat, and with KWV grabbing the Stolichnaya agency too!
Then in jumps US shock jock Rush Limbaugh who comments “Idris Elba should not be able to play James Bond because he is black.” Rush told the Guardian “James Bond is a total concept put together by Ian Fleming. He was white and Scottish. Period. That is who James Bond is, was… But now [they are] suggesting that the next James Bond should be Idris Elba, a black Briton, rather than a white from Scotland. But that’s not who James Bond is and I know it’s racist to probably point this out.
Limbaugh went on to compare the casting to the idea of George Clooney and Kate Hudson starring as Barack and Michelle Obama in a presidential biopic. He also said Hollywood might as well cast Kelsey Grammer as Nelson Mandela the next time a film was made about the South African freedom fighter.”
Of course Rush’s point probably flies well over the head of most Oude Meester manne and Kelsey would have to compete with Idris who has already played Tata in a Long Walk to Freedom, a filmic vehicle created to expand the ego of Irish phenomenon Bono. Is Rush arguing by implication that SA brandy should be faced by a South African or is he just being racist, xenophobic or downright silly?