Free gifts, known as ‘swag’ are a common way for companies to gain recognition in the entertainment industry. Most award shows are precluded with dozens of invitation only gifting suites. Here’s a look into one that happened on March 8, 2012 for nominees and attendees of this year’s Kid’s Choice Awards. The was hosted by Will Smith and aired on Nickelodeon. Kids voted on their favorite celebrities and entertainment in fun categories like ‘Best Sidekick’ and ‘Favorite Video Game.’ But, before the slime and green carpet in Hollywood…the Hollywood teenage elite lived it up in Beverly Hills!
To Be Young…
GBK productions hosted a two day “luxury lifestyle gift lounge” on March 29 and 30 at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, California to celebrate the most popular young adults in the entertainment industry. The production house, like many other marketing firms, specializes in bringing sponsors together with celebrity exposure at fantastic venues. Every award show is surrounded with a handful of gifting suites and service opportunities allotted to celebrities and media. But this is one of the few that caters to the under twenty-five crowd and family friendly favorites.
Bop and Tiger Beat magazines, tween publications that have been popular for decades, co-sponsored the event , which catered to presenters and nominees of the Kids Choice Awards. The lounge doubled as a “birthday bash supporting the American Cancer Society and cancer survivors everywhere,” according to GBK. Celebrities signed a large board that will be donated to the organization. Gifting suites often combine a philanthropy with the event that essentially hands out thousands of dollars worth of free gifts to ‘talent.’ Media was also invited to this event by the dozens and walked away with some innovative products like diabetic weight loss product Slim and Internet tablets!
Gifts like Bratz Dolls by MGA Entertainment to headphones from Coby Electronics were handed out. Clothing company American Apparel to beauty vendors like RevitaLash mascara and ImPress press-on nails attended to hand out complimentary gift bags, press releases and to take pictures with celebrities using their products on the spot. But, besides the duffle bags full of goodies celebrities walked out with, they also got a chance to learn about organizations like The Dream Center which provides shelters for homeless and fights human trafficking. The charity tables are mixed in with the vendors and services, so they get an equal shot at gaining some media and Hollywood attention.
Event photographer Philip Martin observed that the young celebrities, “were fun to watch in action.” Martin notes that this is as much of an opportunity for publicity for the celebrities as it is for the sponsors. He claims gifting suites are a brilliant way to get into magazines and all over the Internet.
Tables were set up filled with appetizers like sliders, desserts like gourmet cupcakes, and candies of all kinds lined the walls. Meanwhile, a bartender scooped up ice-cold virgin daiquiris that oozed vapor. Some vendors like Sabre Hummus and Welch’s gave out edible samples of their products to go.
With celebrities from Disney and Nickelodeon all around, these events are a great way to promote products, services and charities. Experts such as Kasey Grenon, director of entertainment projects at Strega group, who attended this event, says toy cars and MP3 players are nothing compared to the Academy Awards gifting suites she has attended. She insists that, “The gifting suites are a great opportunity to see what’s new and what’s hot, and it gives the small brands a chance to get some exposure.”
Grenon commented that this was a wonderful event for kids because regular luxury events tend to heavily focus on beauty and skincare products. Celebrity trainer, Julia Sanzen says her celebrity clients have walked away with over $20,000 worth of items from gifting suites in the past. “I have a client who received thousands of dollars worth of impromptu beauty services like a diamond incrusted massage and actual cosmetic surgery processes at the events themselves!”