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When Will Hollywood Step Up its Office Supply Game?

10/29/2010

The late, great Sydney Pollack and the terminally foxy George Clooney 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.

But leave it to the 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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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 10/30/2010 9:01 pm

    LOL! I love this post. I work in the fringes of the medical community and actually morned the decision of pharma companies to stop handing out all their kitsch at our meetings (Pressure from Congress and the ACCME). Save those drug pens because in a few years they will will be worth something.

  2. 11/01/2010 7:52 pm

    Very cool post. The more I get into pens, the more I find myself straining to identify them when someone uses one in a movie or TV show. Unfortunately, I’m not eagle-eyed enough to do it very often. But it’s funny, once you start paying attention, how often they show up in scenes. Saw a re-run of Monk the other day where the defective detective solved the case because of the way a pen rolled on a desk.

  3. 11/01/2010 9:21 pm

    Oh Judi! The words of Kate Harding come to mind: You cannot argue with clean lines, people.

  4. 11/02/2010 12:05 am

    LOL! I love this post. I work in the fringes of the medical community and actually morned the decision of pharma companies to stop handing out all their kitsch at our meetings (Pressure from Congress and the ACCME). Save those drug pens because in a few years they will will be worth something.

    Those pens were my lifeblood. More often than not, they were really great pens from 3M! I have a rather large collection of them and I’m definitely going to hold on to them. Thanks for dropping by!

    @ToniB – Ha! I remember that episode of Monk!

    @Michelle – oh Dame Judi is rocking the hell out of that interior design

  5. 11/09/2010 2:03 am

    She really is, and that suit too.

  6. penlover permalink
    01/31/2011 6:00 pm

    Any idea what pen the leading lady in “The Good Wife” uses? Sorry, couldn’t remember her name.

  7. 01/31/2011 6:55 pm

    @Penlover – I will find out the name of the pen.

  8. 03/05/2011 8:15 pm

    So what pen do they use in All the President’s Men? I like the way they write!

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