Gifting celebrities

We get asked all the time by companies about how to get their product into the hands of celebrities. Click Continue Reading to read our free advice about gifting celebrities.

  1. First decide who you want to be using your product. You want celebrities whose image aligns with yours. If you don’t know, do some reaseach! Read the Celebrity Baby Blog (and other gossip blogs) and pay close attention to what these celebs and their kids are wearing. What is their style? What are they already using?
    • For example, Christina Aguilera is probably not the best person to send your handknit organic hemp chew toys and Gwen Stefani has her own clothing line so she’s less likely to dress Kingston in another designer’s clothes.
    • Also, certain celebrities are known not to accept free stuff, or if they do, they are very selective. Don’t even bother with them unless you have a really good connection. Julia Roberts is one of them so save your money.
    • A word of advice- everyone wants the A-listers like Angelina Jolie,Jennifer Garner, etc. Realize that they get BOATLOADS of free stuffsent to them and your product may not stand out unless it is trulyamazing and unique. You want to target the people who are in the tabloids but aren’t necessarily winning Oscars or Grammies.
  2. Figure out your budget for gifting.
    • If you do it yourself, you are going to have the expense of the product of course, but also shipping and packaging. (Don’t just throw it in a priority mail envelope and stick it in a mailbox. You need to wrap it up real nice with a handwritten note because first impressions count and please spring for tracking- it will help you figure out if it even reached its destination.) You are also going to have to consider your time- you may work free but if you are running a business, you need to run it, so any time that you spend on gifting should not take away from fulfilling your current customers’ orders and long term planning.
    • If you hire someone to do it for you, you have to pay their fees which are not going to be cheap. Don’t be pound-wise and penny-foolish. If their fees are really really low, well, as the saying goes, you get what you payfor. It will end up costing you more in the long run because you will have paid cash and given product and have nothing to show for it.
      • How much will it cost? According to Shruti at Backstage Creations, it varies from event to event and the type of participation. You can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000-$5,000 to be a part of a gift bag, to $12,000-$25,000+ (even more if it’s a high demand eventlike SAG used to be, or Sundance, Golden Globes, Grammy’s, etc) to bepart of the gift retreat.
  3. If you hire someone, you need to be really picky because there are more and more companies doing gifting now.Before you commit and hand over your money and product, do someresearch (as with anyone who wants your money). Ask other companieswhat their experience has been with them (and not just the ones theygive as references), ask to see notes from celebrities, and ask aboutthe entire process. You want to make sure that they have good follow-upwith confirming the celebrity got it and you also want them alertingthe media when they get confirmation or thank you notes. After all, ifa celebrity is gifted and no one hears about it, does it make a sound?
      • Coverage is definitely key, but so is quality of celebs. It’s important for clients to see the caliber of celebs they can expect before they invest their money. I’d recommend checking out WireImage for photos of the suite from previous years. Often times the website will only show the crème de la crème and clients find out that sure, Meryl Streep stopped by but she was the biggest celeb at that event… and that was 3 years ago. Smaller, less reputable companies won’t be able to draw the big names and many clients will end up investing big bucks thinking they’re getting Jessica Alba when they’re stuck with D-list soap stars all day.
      • In general, while it is probably the most expensive option, it’s always better to be part of a gift suite that’s the official suite for an award show, working directly with the producers of the show itself, because there’s a higher chance of celebs stopping by the room AND you get the personal interaction to ensure that your product gets in their hands and makes an impact. This is the way Backstage Creations works, and the top tier companies that are our competitors do the same.
  1. If you do it yourself, the most accessible way to get something to a performer is to google their name and the word "publicist" or "representative" or "spokesperson." Then once you have that, look up that person’s contact info. You can also google the celebrity’s name and "production company" because many seem to have one. You can also sign up for IMDbPro or WhoRepresents for $13/month and get information that way.
  2. Sending product out blindly is kind of like spamming. The return on investment is very low and you’ll rarely be able to confirm who ended up with the product. Also, it is highly likely an assistant, agent, gardener, etc. was the final recipient of what you sent.
    • Though you will save on a gifting company’s fees, it isn’t the most reliable way to gobecause rarely will you get a thank you note or acknowledgment. Just sending them product without an acknowledgment doesn’t do you muchgood.
    • But even if you do, it sort of doesn’t really matter to most people unless they see the celeb with the product.
    • Typically, the end goal is to have thecelebrity use the product in public, be photographed and have the photo run in a magazine or blog (like CBB!) with the product so sending things that arevisible in public (like strollers, blankets, clothing, diaper bag,chew toys, etc.) are much better than those products used at home or under clothes(like bedding, most toys, etc.).
    • And for those who are wondering why this is important, I’ll tell you what I tell everyone. To paraphrase Hannibal Lecter from Silence of the Lambs, we covet what we don’t see everyday. We don’t want things just because a celebrity has them. We want them because we may have never seen them before in our normal non-glamorous lives so when if we see something cool on someone else, we get excited about it.
  3. Just as with paying someone to make sure it gets in a celeb’s hands, you need to do follow-up. Track the package and make sure it was delivered. Try to get some kind of confirmation from an assistant that it was received. Ask if they liked it or want more or a different color or size. If you get some kind of confirmation that they liked it, then promote the hell out of it by including the info on your website, media kit, promotional materials, etc. And cross your fingers they’ll get photographed in it and if they do, promote that!
  4. Readers often complain that celebrities are the last people who need free stuff. While that is, in essence, true, by accepting and using swag, they provide a service much less expensive than a full-blown advertising campaign. When celebrities are seen or photographed using products they are gifted, the awareness of that company is boosted exponentially, and in a way that you literally could not buy. Think about it- what is more likely to influence you- seeing a celebrity endorsing a product in a commercial or noticing them wearing or using it in a photo? For more on this, please read Ciaran’s post on the economics of gifting celebrities.
  5. If you have any questions about gifting, please feel free to post a comment.

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