The other option is to participate in one of the many gifting lounges (sometimes called product showcases, talent lounges, and branded entertainment initiatives)
What is a gifting lounge? It is a space where multiple brands set up displays and bring product to gift to the celebrities and media that visit.
There have been some amazing stories of marketing benefits that have happened in these lounges. One brand met the buyer for Fred Segal and now their products are carried by the trendy boutique. Another brand gifted a celebrity before they went on stage and the celebrity wore the product on live television. Another brand saw sales increase three fold after a celebrity was seen using their product on a gossip website.
When a company participates in their first gifting event, many don’t know what to expect and how to use your participation to benefit your business. For the past five years, I’ve helped many different companies and brands participate in gifting lounges and other celebrity events. Here are my suggestions to maximize your experience in this unique type of marketing.
1) Manage your expectations
If you are thinking that a-list celebrities will be visiting the gifting lounge, think again. Generally, what you will find at a very good gifting lounge are one or two celebrities that might be considered a-list. Many times, these celebrities will take your product, but not allow pictures. What you are more likely to find are the b-list and the c-list. Also, don’t expect any press coverage of your product for just participating in the gifting suite.
2) Follow-up with the press
It is amazing to me how many brands forget about this. Many gifting lounges have all sorts of press visiting to learn about new products. Always have some type of gift for them as well as a press kit. Each evening, instead of going out, take a moment to look through the business cards and send them an email thanking them for visiting your booth. If a celebrity raved about your product, let them know. If there is a really cute picture of a celebrity on the wire service web page with your product, email them a link to the picture. It will increase your chances of being covered. Within one or two days after the award show or film festival ends, the story is old news.
3) Choose Wisely
There might be multiple gift lounge opportunities available during the week of the award show or film festival and you should do a little research to see which one fits your needs. If the gift lounge is backstage at the show, it is usually much more expensive than an independent lounge off-site. However, the benefits are generally better celebrities and better press attending since they are officially connected with the award show or festival. Many times, however, there isn’t an official backstage lounge, so most brands will choose one of the many independent lounges that pop up during the week of the show or festival.
Some lounges will focus on services such as beauty treatments, massages and hair styling. Others might be just gifting. And others might provide a relaxing retreat where celebrities and other influencers enjoy cocktails and stay for very long periods of time.
In deciding on participating, you should research on the internet the event producer’s history in producing gifting lounges. Have they delivered decent celebrities in the past? What kind of press coverage have they gotten? These are questions you need to answer before committing.
4) First Day – Gift the Photographers
Photographers are your new best friend. Many lounges have multiple photographers roaming the lounge to take pictures, but they can’t be at everyone’s table all the time. You want them to be available when celebrities are visiting your booth and a little niceness from the beginning always helps.
5) Use Your Photographs
You should use the celebrity photographs with product in many different facets of your business. If the house photographer was part of a wire service, you will have to purchase license to use the pictures. On your website, the pictures should be part of a news or events section. Don’t make the mistake stating that these celebrities endorse or use your product. For your sales team, they should be using the pictures on sales calls and communications. You should have your public relations agency pitch the pictures to the weeklies.
These gifting lounges can be a great tool for your business if you maximize your benefits from participating. My company, R3 Marketing, can advise you on what lounges are coming up and which ones are well-produced. To contact Chris Ryan, email him at email@example.com
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R3 Marketing is a marketing company that works exclusively in the world of film and television. They match brands and companies with celebrity events, major awards shows sponsorships, gift bags and gifting events.