By Susan Hornik
You really should feel sorry for celebrities – gift lounges do, which is why a good many of them are invited to receive beauty treatments and luxury swag during Oscar week! Just kidding on the empathy front, of course! But, in all seriousness, from a marketing perspective, it’s great for small to midsize companies to gift product as a photo with a celeb holding your goods can go a long way.
There are two types of suites: gifting lounges and jewelry designer/style suites. At Stylelab. brands including AGTA, CliQ Jewelry, Dena Kemp, Edward Mirell, Farah Khan, Gemfields, Dean Walker, Joseph Weinreich, Michelle Buxani, Nadia Neuman, Nejal Mehta, Reena Ahluwalia, Stacey Lindsell, Vijayshree Sovani, and V. Saravanan, showcased colored gemstone rings, diamond drop earrings and pearl bracelets. And while celebs like Marcia Gay Harden (“Mystic River,” “Into the Wild”) and Allison Janney (“Juno,” “The West Wing,” “The Help”) received luxury eyewear from Gotti Switzerland, the jewelry items (worth several thousand dollars!) were strictly on loan to accompany their red carpet entrances.
THE GIFTING LOUNGES
What is lovely to see is how every gifting lounge now features a ‘giving back’ aspect. At GBK’s gifting lounge, for example, charities included: The Worldteam Foundation, (fighting human trafficking); HOLLYROD Foundation – (bringing awareness and action to autism and Parkinson’s disease); Drawing for Hope (supporting sexual assault survivors) and The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation (raising awareness and action on juvenile diabetes).
The Alive Expo Green Pavilion & Mix Media Luxury Lounge kicked off their Project Green program to protect green space for future generations, aiming to develop summer eco-camps for under-served children and teens.
Amongst the other events with deserving causes in mind: BWD’s event sought to benefit Unlikely Heroes, an organization that creates restoration homes and rehabilitation centers for children who have been rescued from sexual slavery and human trafficking; Jayneoni’s Boom Boom Room supports foster care and a local women’s shelter; and Roger Neal’s Style Hollywood suite invited homeless, orphaned and foster kids from Safety Harbor to be gifted and given beauty treatments by G.M. Collin.
Said “Meet the Parents” actress Teri Polo at the Drawing for Hope booth: “I think it’s really important—beyond getting some gift here—for celebs to give back. It’s a wonderful way to pay it forward.”
Making a difference in the world was also paramount for vendor GoFoods. In conjunction with its donation of 120 grab-and-go survival backpacks (valued at $250 each) at GBK, the company has also aligned with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank as part of the official launch of the GOFoods Foundation.
“The Oscars are known for their decadence and glamor, yet there are over 600,000 children in LA County alone who are suffering from hunger,” said Brad Stewart, President of GOFoods Global. “The GoFoods mission is to feed and prosper the world, and this week in honor of the 84th Annual Academy Awards and our newly launched GOFoods Foundation, we want to provide opportunities to serve, save, and share our nutritious gourmet meals with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.”
Of course, in addition to all the ‘good’ness going on, celebrities are gifted products from a ton of fabulous and luxurious brands. Here’s the breakdown of what we thought was Swagariffic!:
At Kari Feinstein’s – Melt-La’s Yvonne Mock-Robertson gifted massage certificates while Indiana Popcorn provided a delicious treat. Apparently Seth Green (“Family Guy,” “Austin Powers,” “Robot Chicken”) isn’t much of a jewelry guy so his wife, Clare Grant, had some fun picking Silpada’s “Joyful Gathering” earrings. “We actually have very similar tastes,” joked Seth. Maria Menounos (co-host, “Extra”) tried on Silpada’s sterling silver “Modernista” cuff and walked away with Silpada’s long sterling silver chain charm necklace with her June birthstone (Initial “M”) and the “Power of Love” charms.
At Alive!’s Green Expo suite – Swagariffic highlights included Younique Eye Brightening Complex* and assorted makeup items from Ferro Cosmetics
At G.M. Collin Skincare presents Roger Neal Style Hollywood, celebs were gifted weekend retreats at a gorgeous B&B called Gold Mountain Manor in Big Bear Lake, CA!
At The Legacy Lounge Gifting Suite, The Cascade Ice table was definitely a hot spot! Celebrities were overjoyed to hear about a zero-calorie sparkling beverage that also tastes great and is free of sugar, sodium, caffeine and gluten. With 21 flavors including Peach Mango, Coconut and Raspberry Lemonade, celebrities had a ball taste-testing the beverage. No doubt following the outrageous success of Bethenny Frankel’s skinny drink line, Cascade Ice were also serving up a line of skinny cocktail mixers like Cosmopolitan, Margarita and Appletini! Great to know there are options on the west coast!
At GBK‘s annual celebrity gifting lounge, Paccioni Centum custom-made watches were truly swagariffic (and valued at $6,000.00!), as were beauty products from Vani-T and Tei Spa, and the Carter-Kustera silhouette portraits.
At the Tei Spa booth, “Bridesmaids” star (and Oscar-nominee) Melissa McCarthy had terrible laryngitis and barely spoke at all but still managed to ooh and ahh at the results of the demo. And the similarly hilarious Cloris Leachman also had a great time, pretending to smooth out her underarms with the sonic spatula!
The Boom Boom Room by Jayneoni Moore provided seriously swagariffic products for celebrity moms!
TeetheMe.com (a one of a kind monthly subscription service for parents of children aged newborn-3) were promoting their online service – for $24 a month, members receive 4 to 5 products in a signature Teetheme box. Loved Baby were showing adorable children’s apparel, nursing shawls and swaddling blankets.
Sean Patrick Thomas, (last seen in The CW’s “Ringer”) attended the room with his wife Aonika and their beautiful children, where he dropped by Balyna Baby’s table, declaring, “We needed this! What beautiful clothes!”
Actress Kym Whitley (recently seen in “We Bought A Zoo”) was thrilled to be able to help in bringing gifts to foster children. “I have been blessed with so much and I am grateful that Jayneoni has decided to gift these wonderful children that are sorely in need.”
At the BWD Gifting Lounge, the swagariffic items extended to the health industry, including gift certificates for chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Theo Kousouli and colon cleaning from Complete Trinity Colon Hydro Therapy. Only in Hollywood! Some would definitely prefer to stick with the gorgeous Imoshion Handbags. or the Karma in the Kitchen brand caramels and candies, which were an enormous hit with celebrity guest and Oscar winner TJ Martin of Best Documentary Feature Oscar-recipient “Undefeated.” Martin seemed very excited, eager and humble regarding his hopes for the award.
Kellan Lutz of “Twilight” fame attended the event in support of Unlikely Heroes and even recorded a PSA on-site for the organization. While other celebrity guests included: Hope Dworaczyk (“Celebrity Apprentice”), Jessica Hall (E!’s “Kendra”), Nadia Bjorlin (E!’s “Dirty Soap”), Kyle Massey (“That’s So Raven”), Christy Romano (“Even Stevens”), Marisa Lauren (“90210″), Brando Eaton (“Dexter”), Kristen Howe (Cinemax’s “Chemistry”) and Natalie Getz (“Bachelor Pad”).