Dr. No received mixed reviews — some positive, others dismissive. "Pure, escapist bunk," sniffed Bosley Crowther of the New York Times. But audiences responded, and From Russia With Love, released the next year, was also a hit. By 1964's Goldfinger, Bond was a phenomenon.
From the start, success was enhanced by clever marketing. We may think of product placement and merchandising as recent strategies — Daniel Craig's Bond diverges from his martini habit to drink Heineken — but it was part of the package starting with the books, in which Bond's watch is a Rolex, his shampoo Pinaud Elixir.
What began as Fleming's way of demonstrating his character's expensive tastes quickly became a commercial arrangement, now worth millions to the films' producers.
In the '60s, Bond fans could wear 007 deodorant and aftershave or sport James Bond swimming trunks, complete with logo. Connery's Bond drank Smirnoff vodka, while the villain in Goldfinger played golf with Slazenger balls.