Packaging in the movies

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After a recent blog in which I waxed lyrical about the key role block bottom bags have played in certain American movies, I got to wondering whether packaging materials had made any other significant contribution to the history of world cinema.

Maybe it’s just because we live and breathe packaging here at Davpack that I expected more, but I was surprised at the lack of good packaging related films my research unearthed. I am particularly disappointed that nobody has yet fully investigated the dramatic possibilities of bubble wrap, for instance. The only items that do seem to have left any kind of mark are cardboard boxes and brown paper bags.


Goggle boxes

Cardboard boxes have two significant roles to play in films. The first has been seen countless times and involves them being stacked randomly and pointlessly on the corners of New York streets, in order to be driven into, scattered and squashed during fast and, to this Smart car driver, somewhat ill-advised and dangerous looking car chases.

The second role does at least bear some relation to the traditional function of a box – i.e. as a container. Unfortunately, in the movies it’s not usually going to be something very nice inside. One of the more noteworthy examples is the 1995 film Se7en, which culminates in serial killer Kevin Spacey presenting cop Brad Pitt with a cardboard box containing the head of the latter’s wife. Should you ever find yourself in a similar position, may we recommend our 290 x 290 x 290mm ASW08, although we should emphasise that it has not been tested for such a use, and we will not be held responsible should it prove inadequate for the purpose.


From bags to riches

Strangely, brown paper bags have fared much better in that they’ve even made it into the title of two movies. Admittedly, neither was exactly a blockbuster, but both are listed on the online movie database, thus establishing any credibility you might feel they otherwise lack. My personal favourite is Attack of the Brown Paper Bags, a 7-minute short made in 2009. It can be viewed online and I can assure you it was worth every cent of the $300 budget apparently lavished upon it.

The less dramatic Brown Paper Bags, meanwhile, explores “the many uses of a brown paper bag in the black community”, promising that “you’ll never look at a brown paper bag the same way again”. In case you missed it at your local multiplex when it was released in 2007, I understand that the BBC are planning to show it straight after the Queen’s Speech on Christmas Day this year.

Given this evidence, I believe the time has now surely come to give packaging materials their full share of the cinematic spotlight. Should any passing film moguls, convinced by my plea, wish to screen test any potential stars or props, they couldn’t do better than cast an eye over the range on offer here at Davpack. And in case they need a young(ish) and talented scriptwriter attached to the project, I’m currently putting the finishing touches to Post Mortem, in which a psychotic postman uses various postal packaging products to ‘despatch’ his victims, all condemned for failing to pay the correct postage on their letters.

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Dave Smith

With a background that has included spells in marketing and editorial management in the publishing and performing arts industries, Dave is now a valued member of Davpack’s marketing team, where he is our lead blogger and senior copywriter. Still relatively new to the business, he will be aiming to look at the world of cardboard boxes and packaging materials from a slightly different angle to the usual. Davpack

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