As movie fans hit theatres for the latest James Bond film, they'll see 007 sipping a beer from a brand for which star Daniel Craig has also filmed a TV commercial.

The release of Skyfall has once again turned the spotlight to the practice of product placement in movies and TV shows.

The spy franchise's reported $45 million US deal with Heineken isn't an anomaly: the Bond series has a history of unabashedly flashing pricey brands onscreen, from luxury watches and high-end designer fashions to sleek sports cars and cutting-edge tech toys.

MMI Product Placement Inc. president Phil Hart has landed his clients' products into films like Barney's Version, Juno and Goon. He believes his role is to help flesh out characters and storylines with real-life brands.

"We'll say 'That particular character should be using a gold card, rather than a regular Visa card,'" he explained.

However, for Gemini-winning screenwriter and former Writers Guild of Canada president Rebecca Schechter, product placement can be a slippery slope.

"Once you have to divert your storytelling into serving this other master, which is selling a product, you can go into very dangerous territory," she said. "You can harm your story and you can offend and alienate your viewers."

The CBC's Deana Sumanac reports on the business of product placement.