Hollywood Awards Season has Hundreds of Companies Wasting Money on Gift Suites

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Social Hill, the nations' leading direct product placement company, has made radical changes to the celebrity gift suite industry after extensive research into the fundamentals that have been failing brand managers for years.

Jennifer Love Hewitt in the Social Hill Lifestyle Lounge

Hundreds of brand managers and publicists will participate in gift suites over the coming months, only to find them to be a complete waste of time and money. The very fundamentals of gift suites fail the results-oriented brand manager. Social Hill has researched and rebuilt the process from a brand manager’s perspective with brand building as the primary focus.

Hollywood gift suites have become nearly as famous as the events they surround. The 2012 Awards season starts in January with the Golden Globes, and is followed by the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Grammys and finally at the end of February, the Oscars. Dozens of meeting rooms in local hotels will be rented out to hold exclusive gift suites for the stars.

The promise of the gift suite seems to make sense: Hundreds of celebrities will come and meet with dozens of companies and get free products. Expectations of Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry coming to get the latest and greatest products is irresistible to brand managers. The companies will benefit from the “unofficial endorsement” of the celebrity as the mass media (or social media) distribute images of the celebrity with the new brands. This is called “Celebrity Association”. In mathematics it is called “The transitive property of equality” which means If A=B and B=C then A=C. With celebrity association it is more like; If people like a celebrity, and a celebrity likes your brand, then people will like your brand. This is powerful marketing and that is why hundreds of companies participate in gift suites each year.

It is too bad that over 90% of them will never participate in a gift suite after trying it once. Of the remaining 10% who will give it another try only 3% will move on to a third gift suite. Bob Olejar of Social Hill has been evaluating this business for the past decade and states “We have looked at the product lists from all the major suites over the past few years and called the brand managers for feedback after the events. The comments we get range from disappointment, frustration and many accusations of fraud.”

Gift suites fail for brand managers on all levels. They fail the basic requirements for celebrity association. Hollywood gift suites fail at their fundamental structure. Here are the shocking quick facts:

  •     Although 200 guests attend an typical gift suite only 2 of them will be celebrities
  •     Pictures of celebrities at a tradeshow style booth have no PR value
  •     Pictures of celebrities on a red carpet with dozens of logos behind them have no PR value

Social Hill has taken this research very seriously and has completely redesigned the gifting business from the perspective of a brand manager. “Direct Product Placement with a celebrity is the goal of a brand manager, not gifting” says Olejar. We still have a red carpet photo, but our press walls only have the logo of one brand. One celebrity in a photo with one brand creates celebrity association. We also don’t take any tradeshow style photos. We have an interior designed photo studio for celebrities to take organic photographs with their favorite products. Organic photos create celebrity association.

The gifting business is dying due to the emergence of results-oriented brand managers and publicists. Direct celebrity product placement is the future for the industry and it is the current business model for Social Hill.


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Alexis Anderson
Brick Road PR (VM)
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