Q would have had kittens... The moment Sean Connery almost swapped his Aston Martin for a Skoda - not to mention the $1.4m advertising deal...

Connery Almost Sold Skodas
4th March 2003

When German car manufacturing giant Volkswagen took over Skoda - the Czech car company which is the butt of many jokes - it had an outrageous idea for marketing the new Fabia and Octavia models.

The company targeted Connery, Sean Connery, to appear in television commercials for the new car and win some much needed respect back for the flagging manufacturer. How do you lure a former 007 away from his Aston Martin and into a Skoda?

The plan was simple - film Connery and a Skoda in the grounds of Eilean Donan Castle near the Kyle of Lochalsh - the same castle that featured as the temporary MI6 HQ in "The World Is Not Enough".

Richard Fuxa (a name perhaps better suited to an Austin Powers movie) was one of the people responsible for the idea at the the Prague advertising agency - "I think it's an excellent, excellent move and in the European market it will of course give Skoda some added value. It can only boost the car's image, so I think it's a brilliant idea."

Other than the "allure" of being the new face of Skoda, the company were offering a hefty pay day of $1.4 million. Fuxa explained the deal: "From what I remember of the prices of other stars like Bruce Willis, the going rate was around one million dollars, so I think it's a normal price. And of course James Bond is already widely accepted as the top action movie series, with high investments involved, so I don't think it's a huge amount of money."

The Response

Whilst shooting "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" in Prague, Czech Republic late last year, Connery revealed why the deal never took off. "I was interested at first, but I hadn't seen the new model, I mean, let's face it Skoda was not a great car."

"When they sold the car they used to have built in rust, you didn't have to wait for it."

"Seriously, I was not going to do a commercial about a car until I could at least sit in the car, drive the car. They sent me a faxes but they were all black...if I could not connect nor see, there was no way I was going to do it. I saw one when I came to London and very impressed by the car. They have had a fantastic response. Unfortunately no one can afford to buy them [in Czech Republic]"

Skoda completed an advertising campaign for the launch of the new cars without any action heroes. Connery had previously been the face of Mazda's television commercials in Japan.

Below: How it the advertising campaign could have looked - "Schkoda... Schtriking"