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Memo to Hollywood: Y’all Need Some Better Office Supplies!

October 21, 2010

The late, great Sydney Pollack and the terminally foxy George Clooney surrounded by a host of unremarkable office supply products in the moody legal thriller 'Michael Clayton'

Watching as many films as I do and possessing the level of office supply interest I have cultivates an eagle eye for product placement – dismal as is usually the case – in movies. Every time a cinema physician writes a cinematic prescription I tsk-tsk the use of a gaudy, novelty pen emblazoned with the name of some psuedo-pharmaceutical giant of the Devlin-McGregor variety. Generally speaking, physicians don’t tend to use those pens with real patients and with electronic medical records, they hardly even write many scripts by hand. Unfortunately, the truth has never gotten in the way of Hollywood’s desire to traffic in useless stereotypes, resulting in cinematic doctors who are no more office supply savvy than business men often seen lusting over cheap stick pens in every film or TV show featuring some kind storm door/insurance salesman convention, which oddly enough always/only seem to take place in Cleveland.

While it’s possible to find office supply products in just about every film, I tend to focus on thrillers of the medical, legal and political variety, where one is afforded ample opportunities to see file folders unearthed, papers being endless jogged into briefcases and probably a few important/damning documents with certain key phrased covered in the thick, heavy black shame bars of a permanent marker.

Robert Redford connects the dots in the political thriller 'All the President's Men'

In Michael Clayton I was baffled by the mixed messaging happening as it relates to office supplies. If these two were such tony outfits, why did it seem as though every high power litigator was working what appeared to be cheap Skilcraft pens. To be sure, Skilcraft makes a rugged, dependable pen for all that bureaucratic paper pushing, however, nothing will be assume other than incompetence if you roll into a meeting and liberate one of these bad boys from your briefcase.

Leave it to the beleaguered James Bond franchise to show other filmmakers and set decorators the way towards creating films that sell the audience an idealize version of their office supply selves, the way films sell beauty, wealth and youth as the defacto requirement for happiness. Dame Judi’s M has a sleek modern office, complete with sleek, modern office supplies and one helluva showstopping pen!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 21, 2010 2:49 pm

    You are with office supplies the way I am with computers and operating systems. I can’t watch Jurassic Park for example without clucking as Lex says “It’s a Unix system! I know this!”

  2. October 21, 2010 3:34 pm

    Skilcraft pens!! my dad retired from the army when I was 9, but I was bringing some of those to high school with me because they still wrote! speaking of nostalgia, this makes me want to buy a box.

  3. October 21, 2010 5:32 pm

    Is Pollack standing in a ditch? Oh Clooney, you almost got away with it.

  4. October 23, 2010 8:24 pm

    I’m with redlami on computers/operating systems and then just tech in general.
    I love you, Chuck, but the U.S. Government isn’t issuing macbooks to anyone. Sorry.

    Okay, well, maybe just one.

  5. Elizabeth Matusik permalink
    April 5, 2011 1:11 am

    I myself represent a company which sells promotional products. I must say that this post has provided me with some interesting info to think about in my own work with designing marketing office supplies. You’ve done an impressive job, buddy! 😉

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