For Every Brand a Freak ("Milton's Red Stapler")

Collectors edition red swingline stapler on clearance at officemax
"Collector's Edition Red Swingline Stapler" photo by Martin Bowling via Flickr

My sister prides herself on being professional and reserved.

But if you put her anywhere near a Staples or an Office Depot, better stand back. As soon as she sees those two-toned binders with the endless organizer flap pockets - she loses all sensibility.

Do you make the mistake of thinking that your product is boring?

If you do, why are you selling it?

You have to be completely excited about whatever widget you're plying, even if it means nothing to me.

Here is where office supply companies really miss the opportunity: We need a Target type approach to staplers, tape dispensers and folders. And everything related to it.

We need it for the office supply junkies like my sister, and me too - I remember leafing through the Quill catalogue VERY slowly as a kid - the same type of people who can spend hours chasing organization at The Container Store.

I also remember when it took me four months to get a new stapler at work (don't ask). Can't tell you how many times I thought about "Milton's" red stapler from "Office Space" - just had to have one. Had to!

Drucker said that companies exist to create customers. Marketers exist to bring them joy. And yes, possibly product addiction. Can't have one without the other.

Have a good evening everyone, and good luck!


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Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.