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Marketing Celebrity Pictures From a Gifting Suite
By Bobby Olejar

When you want your product or service to gain awareness with the general public there is no better path to public appeal than association with celebrities. Whether it be movie stars, athletes, television personalities or business moguls there is no method more proven to work than celebrity product placement.

There is a science to celebrity product placement. Planning is critical. Knowing your ultimate goals before you enter into this industry is critical. In this Ezine article we will review your marketing goals and how to effectively use your money to gain the maximum exposure while avoiding the common pitfalls experienced by many firms.

Simply stated, your goal is to build association between your company's product/service and celebrities. To do this you have several steps which must be executed properly. The first is to obtain pictures of celebrities with your product or with your logo. Many new companies want a picture of the celebrity holding the product. However, many experienced companies have learned that products and packaging change often. This could easily render your celebrity photos outdated. The ideal celebrity photo is the celebrity on a red carpet standing in front of a media wall with your logo. If you are very good at your job you will get each celebrity standing next to only your logo and not logos from dozens of other companies.

So how do you get these pictures? The best option is through a professional celebrity gifting service. Gifting services will invite celebrities to private locations to get products from twenty to forty companies. There are several companies which hold major gifting suites during the Oscars, Grammys, Emmys and other award shows, but most of them do not draw significant A-list talent. The average gifting suite will draw two celebrities even though the website and promotional material will claim ten, twenty or thirty celebrities will be invited, few ever show up. The other red flag is to look at the media wall from these gifting companies past events. Do you see a celeb standing in front of dozens of logos? If so, it is best to avoid that company because they may have some celebs, but they don't offer you the one thing you need -- Celebrity photos with only your logo!

Once you find a good gifting service company you will have the foundation of your marketing goals. But just getting pictures is a small part of your marketing goals. Now you need to get the public to see those pictures. Start by knowing the difference between advertising and press. You cannot use those celebrity pictures for advertising, you can use them for press. If you send them to a magazine or newspaper you will not have a problem. If you put them on your company website in an area that is related to news you will not have a problem. Do not, under any circumstances print those pictures of your product packaging or in-store displays as that is advertising and you will need a signed legal release from the celebrity. To be on the safe side make sure your lawyer gives you advice on the difference between press and advertising.

Many companies have experienced great success in getting their celebrity photos into magazines. The key to this is timing. You must do some work and know when a celebrity has a new television show or movie being released. Take that date and plan to make a move at least 30 days in advance. Send your pictures to all the magazines, newspapers and websites possible and let the editors know about the celebrity and their upcoming show. The show will make the news and you will get the picture. Keep working on this approach and sooner or later you will have some success. Once you get published you may have reached all of your publicity goals.

Good luck.

Bobby Olejar -- Gifting Services

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Gift Suites - The History and Current State of the Celebrity Product Placement Industry
By Bobby Olejar

In this article we will discuss the history of celebrity product placement, importance of celebrity association in marketing, the goals from a properly managed gifting suite and the decline of effectiveness in the current gifting suite industry.

Celebrities and product marketing have been linked since the dawn of Hollywood films. Celebrities influence fashion and lifestyle more effectively than any other type of promotion. Surges in sales of a certain type of car, clothing, jewelry, sunglasses, furniture, even food and drinks have been directly linked to celebrity association. Even in the early days of film companies were trying to get their products to be shown on the big screen. It is the most powerful and effective form of marketing on the planet. It has worked for over a century and is working stronger than ever in the technology age with mass media on streaming to electronic billboards, computers and even mobile phones to billions of people every day.

The concept is incredibly powerful because it is incredibly simple. Consumers naturally accept products and services used by people they admire or accept in popular culture. If you can associate your brand with someone who is commonly accepted your product will be commonly accepted. It is the most tested and most proved marketing strategy on earth because it works.

Companies in the early 1900's tried to get their products into the small amount of films produced each year. It was a difficult Today there are hundreds of films produced annually, over 200 television channels, hundreds of magazines, and thousands of web sites. The celebrity gifting suite has become the best way for companies to get their products and services to celebrities.

The absolute best way to build the association between a product and a celebrity is through a red carpet photo. This photo will show a celebrity standing in front of a wall covered with a company's logo. The logic behind the photo is simple "Celebrity + Logo = celebrity brand association". A gifting suite should have each celebrity taking a picture with a company's logo and in return the celebrity is gifted quality products and services.

Gifting suites started as a private room where celebrities were given products from companies in hopes they would be photographed or filmed at a later date. This strategy was full of hope but rarely proved successful. Some gifting suites started producing large media walls with dozens of logos. The celebrities would come and stand in front of the press walls and take pictures. This strategy worked very well, but was only useful to the one or two company logos captured in the photo. The dozens of other logos on the press wall would not be seen and therefore would not have any benefit.

Gift suites once to have dozens of celebrities. The current average at the Oscars, Emmy's and other award shows was two celebrities. There are many reasons for this decline. Gifting suite organizers have been allowing access to hundreds of non-celebrities. The gifting suites have become more like gifting parties and companies are realizing little or no marketing value for giving away hundreds of products to people who cannot help build celebrity brand association. Because companies do not like to waste product they tend to give away less valuable merchandise. With less valuable merchandise and a party-like atmosphere the real celebrities have less incentive to attend. This cycle has led the industry downward.

Currently there are about a dozen companies in Hollywood that produce major gifting suites. The goal of having a celebrity come and take a picture next to a company logo in exchange for a product is non-existent. The power of celebrity product placement and celebrity product association is as strong as ever, but the gifting industry is lost in a sea of parties and non-business activities.

When selecting a gifting company it is important for a company to realize its marketing goals "Get a celebrity picture next to the company logo". Marketing is the reason for celebrity gifting. It is important to select the right gifting services as a part of a company's marketing plan.

The major gifting suites of the year are; Golden Globes, Grammys, SAG Awards, Oscars and Emmys. There are dozens of other award shows and private gift lounges scattered across the calendar. The lounges are very different and should be evaluated to meet your company goals before spending the entry fee and supplying valuable product.

Bobby Olejar
Gifting Services

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