The latest advert for Paco Rabanne's One Million Privé fragrance has a distinctly Bondian look.
In one TV spot, we see a handsome and cool hero putting on a dinner suit. He clicks his fingers, and the scene switches to a dark space, criss-crossed with laser beams reminiscent of a well-known scene from Mission:Impossible. Our hero energetically negotiates his way around the beams – he is evidently an expert gymnast – before reaching the door to what appears to be a gold vault (shades of Goldfinger?).
The action cuts to another dark empty space, lit only by a spotlight. The man clicks his fingers again, and we see him on top of a skyscraper resembling the Empire State Building like a well-groomed King Kong. The spotlight is moving around looking for him. There is a close up of the man. Keeping with the King Kong allusion, a woman stands on his open hand. The man turns to the camera and clicks his fingers again.
Instantly, the man's appearance changes. He now wears a white dinner jacket and adopts a very familiar pose: he stands facing us, the lower part of his left leg behind his right leg. His left arm is held against his body, his left hand tucked under his right elbow. The lower part of his right arm is bent upwards, his hand resting on his chin as if he is in thought.
If you put a gun in his right hand, then he'd be imitating the classic James Bond pose seen on many posters and publicity shots from the Bond films, beginning with From Russia, With Love. The reference is confirmed as the spotlight captures him, and he is enclosed in a white circle that mimics the gunbarrel sequence that traditionally opens a Bond film.
But he hasn't been caught for long, as he makes an appropriately Bondian escape holding on to the landing skid of a helicopter.
Though short, the advert is crammed with film references, among them references to James Bond (potentially five – the pose, the dinner suit, spotlight, the helicopter and the vault).
The use of the spotlight is itself interesting. In the traditional gunbarrel, it is not a spotlight we see moving across the screen at the start of the gunbarrel sequence, but simply a white dot – or possibly the sights of a gun – that is transformed into the end of a gunbarrel. The dot, however, is similar enough to a spotlight for the spotlight to be used as a proxy by photographers, film-makers and others for the gunbarrel. Simply shine a spotlight on someone and the allusion to Bond is made.
I'm reminded of the cover of the Mail on Sunday's Event magazine in August last year, which showed Anthony Horowitz caught by a spotlight. Whetting readers' appetites for a feature about Horowitz's James Bond novel, the image was clearly meant to recall the gunbarrel sequence (although there is something Tintin-esque about it too, which may also have been intended, since Horowitz is a fan of Hergé's creation).