"Everybody" knows that celebrities own all the coolest stuff, and well before
everybody else. Celebrities travel the world and every minute detail of their daily
lives pervades the media. As style-leaders, they are perhaps our most powerful
influencers. It's no wonder then that companies are lining up to give them the latest
gifts and gadgets for free.
One method to do this is called elvis and ginger "Gifting-The-Talent." This generally involves
supplying free product for insertion into "goody bags" which are handed out as
'thank you' gifts to celebrity presenters and award nominees at the now-countless
awards shows and charity benefits that dot the entertainment landscape.
At last year's Academy Awards, for example, one of two Best Actress gift-bags
featured Gucci sunglasses, a Sprint PCS phone, Christian Tse 18-carat gold Iris
earrings, and more. The Best Actor bag featured Gucci eyewear, a Maurice Lacroix
Swiss watch and assorted other goodies. According to news reports, the retail value
of one such group of bags at the Oscars exceeded $110,000 each!
But how effective is this practice? If the goal of Celebrity Product Placement is to get
press coverage, can we measure the value of gift-bag placements? What types of
products are suitable and which are not? And what level of control does this strategy
offer marketers both in terms of demographics and reach?