How is Samantha Cameron breaking into Hollywood? Elementary, my dear Watson

Smythson – the upmarket stationery firm that employs PM's wife – turns to product placement

It may be a quintessential English firm – an Old Bond Street address and the Prime Minister's wife as an adviser helps – but the upmarket stationery manufacturer Smythson has decided it is time to expand the empire and break into Hollywood.

Smythson has branched into product placement to help promote the brand globally. Samantha Cameron is a creative consultant after stepping down from her £400,000 full-time post as creative director.

The latest outing of stylish goods is in Guy Ritchie's new blockbuster Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. In the film, expected to be this year's festive must-see, the camera lingers over a red Smythson diary.

The company sent the Sherlock producers a number of diaries to choose from and Holmes himself would deduce that the diary's use is, at least, historically plausible. The fictional detective first appeared in print back in 1887, the same year that Frank Smythson opened his store at 133 Bond Street to supply "first class stationery, leather goods and cabinet work".

Smythson is also pursuing other placements in films and television shows. And the visibility of its goods across film and television has helped the company triple its profits this year to £2.4m. A spokesman for the stationers said: "We decide which films we feel are relevant and fit with our brand and history ... we have been making our books and diaries in pretty much the same way for over 100 years so they won't be that different now to how they were in late Victorian England."

In the film A Single Man, directed by the fashion designer Tom Ford, the actor Colin Firth left a note about the proper way to knot his corpse's tie on an engraved Smythson note card.

Smythson products were also supplied to Page Eight, the suitably classy BBC spy thriller written by David Hare starring Bill Nighy.

They have featured in the James Bond franchise and Gossip Girl, the hit US teen television drama, which relies heavily on product placement of designer goods. And Smythson said it is regularly approached by prop masters for items to borrow. "SamCam" herself has indulged in product placement for the firm. In an "at home" profile for US Harper's Bazaar she plugged a handbag, diary, silver pen and keyring, all available at Smythson.

It's not the first traditional English brand to use Hollywood to expand its profile. In Woody Allen's tennis film Match Point, Scarlett Johansson carried one of Mulberry's Roxanne bags. The ruthless traders in Money Never Sleeps, Oliver Stone's Wall Street sequel, brandished Dunhill accessories while in literature Bentley forced Aston Martin off the road to get James Bond driving a Continental GT in the new novel, Carte Blanche, by Jeffery Deaver.

Product placement has become a vital source of funds for the film industry, with companies spending about $1.8bn last year to get on-screen prominence for their brands. Ms Cameron was recognised as the driving creative force behind Smythson as creative director. Her achievements included the £950 Nancy bag, named after the couple's daughter.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, finds himself at the centre of a media storm when his wife is reported missing and assumed dead

film
Arts and Entertainment
Lindsay Lohan made her West End debut earlier this week in 'Speed-the-Plow'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Artist Nathan Sawaya stands with his sculpture 'Yellow' at the Art of Brick Exhibition

art
Arts and Entertainment
'Strictly Come Dancing' attracted 6.53 million viewers on Friday
tv
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant plays Detective Emmett Carver in the US version on Broadchurch

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor goes undercover at Coal Hill School in 'The Caretaker'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ni , Rock of Rah, Vanuatu: The Ni live on one of the smallest islands of Vanuatu; Nelson flew five hours from Sydney to capture the 'isolation forged by their remoteness'
photographyJimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style
Arts and Entertainment
David Byrne
musicDavid Byrne describes how the notorious First Lady's high life dazzled him out of a career low
Arts and Entertainment
Sergeant pfeffer: Beatles in 1963
booksA song-by-song survey of the Beatles’ lyrics
Arts and Entertainment
music'I didn't even know who I was'
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl was left in a conundrum with too much talent and too few seats during the six-chair challenge stage
tvReview: It was tension central at boot camp as the ex-Girls Aloud singer whittled down the hopefuls
Arts and Entertainment
Kalen Hollomon's Anna Wintour collage

art
Arts and Entertainment

TV Grace Dent on TV
Arts and Entertainment

Music
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black

music
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer is believed to be playing a zombie wife in Patient Zero

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Gatiss says Benedict Cumberbatch oozes sex appeal with his 'Byronic looks' and Sherlock coat
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Clothing items bearing the badge have become popular among music aficionados
musicAuthorities rule 'clenched fist' logo cannot be copyrighted
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson will star in Seth MacFarlane's highly-anticipated Ted 2

film
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in 'Gone Girl'

film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
    Why do we like making lists?

    Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

    Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
    Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

    A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

    As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
    Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

    Paris Fashion Week

    Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
    Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

    Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

    One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
    10 best children's nightwear

    10 best children's nightwear

    Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
    Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

    Manchester City vs Roma

    Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
    Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

    Trouble on the Tyne

    Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?