Celebrity Gifting Suites: Survival Tips

Whether you agree with the phenomena or not, celebrity sells. I have personally seen the momentum it can create with my own company, Glamajama. A celebrity fan or customer gives your brand credibility in the marketplace and makes your company newsworthy. Celebrity Gifting Suites are one of the many ways you can gain access to celebrities for your brand.

Think of these “swag parties” as extravagant trade shows with the attendees being celebrities getting freebies instead of paying store owners. The main goal of attending a show like this is grabbing the heart and attention of a high profile celebrity which will then translate into media attention, increased exposure for your brand, and ultimately a spike in sales. Does that always happen? Absolutely NOT. Can it happen, YES.

I have experience with shows like this and I am happy to share a couple pointers. I was fortunate in that my strategy paid off and Glamajama added quite a few celebrity fans, features on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Dancing with the Stars, and even a spotlight on Oprah. Was this luck? No. This was EXECUTION of a PLAN.

Let me be clear, “luck” does NOT create success- it can however create opportunities. How you handle those opportunities is what determines your success.

My Tips & Tricks:

  • Select the Event Carefully: Spend time researching potential events and their hosts. Do they have a good reputation? Are they sharing pictures from past events? Proof (pictures/testimonials/magazine features/etc) of the celebrities that have attended their events? Just remember almost everyone in Hollywood is an “actress”, make sure the attendees are truly paid professionals with A or B-list status.
  • Bring a Trigger Happy Friend: These events are commonly attended by the “paparazzi”. They are hired by the event hosts to take pictures for use in their marketing materials, media outreach, or to help in other promotions. The host will advertise to you that these pictures will be able for your use. And of course they are, at a price. It’s a great way for “them” to make a couple extra bucks. They know you will be desperate to get pictures of your brand with A-listers. Save money by having a friend take pictures for you. He/She will take pictures of just YOU (there is always frenzied competition for the photographers attention), you will have full access to the images, and you can use them in your pitches to the media since you will own the rights-not the paparazzi or event host.
  • Don’t be Cheap: If you’re spending the money to attend an event like this, make sure you create a red carpet ready display piece for your company. Celebrities want to be associated with glamorous, exclusive, and trendy companies. If you’re display comes across as being cheap, mass market, or outdated, they won’t be tempted to stop and chat. Put your best foot forward!

My Strategy Pointers:

Attending celebrity events can be quite costly, follow these strategy pointers to help you spend your marketing dollars wisely.

    • Celebrity Strategy: After deciding on an event to attend, ask for a list of invited celebrities and which are expected to attend. Once received, Google each name and create a spreadsheet with their picture, relevant info (in my case as a baby clothes designer I would note kids names and ages), current projects, and future projects.

Once you have everyone’s information handy, sort through the list to identify which celebrities will be the best fit for your product or brand. For example, if you have a “green” product, highlight celebrities known for their green efforts and target them. Create individual bags for each attendee you want to target and even consider monogramming the product if possible. It’s human nature to want to use use things that have been personalized for us and the celebrity will appreciate your additional effort.Also, target celebrities that not only have current projects, BUT projects launching in the near future. The media loves “new starlets” and they’re also usually more appreciative of all the freebies thrown at them. If you can build a relationship between them and your company during the early days, it will prove valuable as their career blossoms.

The spreadsheet you create will also come in handy for defending yourself against the celebrity parasites that ALWAYS end up in events like this. If you don’t recognize someone from the celebrity invite list don’t be afraid to ask. You can also have your trigger happy friend do the asking. If they end up being famous you can always pull the good cop/bad cop “OMG ______! You didn’t know who she was? She’s so talented…” Cheesy, yes. BUT you can lose thousands of dollars by handing out product to absolute nobodies and then end up empty handed when a real high profile celebrity stops by during the events last five minutes. I have personally seen this happen many times.

If I had a nickle for every “sister-of-the-girl-who-styles-Gwen Stefani’s-hair-during-tours-in-Canada” I’d be rich.

    • Sales Strategy:

Don’t forget to ask which boutiques will be attending the event as well. These events are frequented by boutiques with celebrity clientele. Why not share with them a sample and your wholesale information? Placing your brand in a high profile boutique is a profitable way to get media attention and additional celebrity fans. This is always a top priority for me at celebrity events. Also, most exhibitors are so focused on the celebrity aspect they miss this angle all together-it’s up to YOU to seize the opportunity!

    • Media Strategy:

You can bet this event will be attended by the celebrity scoop weeklies such as Us Weekly, Ok! Magazine, and more. TV shows such as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E! entertainment, and others are common attendees. Before the event, reach out to these outlets and introduce yourself. While they might not respond, it still helps YOU stand out in the crowd since they will recognize your brand or product. The “media” are people just like me and you. They can be overwhelmed with the chaos and everyone crowding them for attention. They’ll appreciate a friendly face.

Also, be sure you pack a “media kit” that includes your press kit, a sample, and info where they can download 300 dpi pictures for publication. Let them know if you have any pictures of celebrities with your products from the event and that YOU have the rights to them. People usually choose the path of least resistance. Take advantage of this by positioning yourself as the easiest brand to feature. Grab their business card or ask for an email address so you can follow up with them as well.

I hope these tips get you started in the right direction and feel free to ask any questions you might have. Also, never forget to have a GOOD TIME!!! Enthusiasm and passion are contagious and will draw in the crowds, don’t forget to let it shine-you’re a STAR too!

Need help with your business? Want me to develop a strategy for YOUR success? I have plenty more tips I’d be happy to share! Hire me here.

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