Staples is trying to make ink pens cool to kids with its new series of back-to-school promos.
And the huge office supply store is using Rico Rodriguez – Manny from the hilarious TV show 'Modern Family'– to help do it.
In case you don't know Manny, he's the 11-year-old son of Jay and Gloria Pritchett on the hit ABC show about a complicated, hapless and good-hearted family from Southern California. Manny is wise beyond his years, a budding poet who drinks coffee and wears dinner jackets, and usually falls victim to his own attempts at being a suave ladies' man.
He's also one of the funniest and most popular characters on the show, which makes him the perfect pitchman to sell pens to kids who probably don't use them much otherwise.
In one commercial that's been airing during "America's Got Talent" and other hot shows, he holds up a couple packs of Bic retractable pens and tells a girl that he's buying them for two reasons: One, they're a great deal, and two, they're good for getting girls' numbers.
She rolls her eyes and walks off.
He says, "Let's face it, this school year, we're gonna have a lot of stuff to write down..."
(Hopefully, that will be true.)
Then he and the girl demonstrate No. 2 pencils, ballpoint pens and Sharpies on an artist's pad. Poor Manny also tries to flirt with the girl, but gets shot down. If you've been jonesing for some Manny humor while the show has been on summer hiatus, you'll get a kick out of his last line.
We really enjoy seeing any sort of pen marketing that aims to keep kids interested in writing utensils. Eventually, we're going to need a new generation of penthusiasts to replace us when the arthritis gets so bad we can no longer whip out our favorite liquid ink rollerballs.