Have you always wondered how products get in the hands of celebrities? Even if you're not personal friends with them, or don't have friends who are friends with them and generous enough to do you a favor?
It is called "celebrity gifting," and there are many ways in which this happens. First of all, the reason it's important for brands is because if you can use a celebrity names, even just saying that someone important has it or was given it, you can get media in a weekly magazine, possibly a news channel like E! or Access Hollywood in a trend segment. It is a tacit endorsement and one that leads to sales.
We all kind of want what a celebrity has. If they own it, it has to be good, right? Perhaps it's because it gives us common folk a taste of the fantasy, the dream of the red carpet life. If something makes you feel fabulous - well, isn't that enough in this crazy world?
1. The expensive way. Hire an agency who specializes in this sort of thing (Flying Televsion, Platinum Rye for example). They have different packages. For the least amount of money, they will put together a target list, get the products in the hands of the celebs in question (they have personal contacts so it's not being sent blindly to their PR, manager or agent, who likely gifts it to their assistants anyway).
Typically, you cannot use the names of these celebrities unless you're granted permission (usually a bit of an extra fee), they are randomly photographed with the product, or you receive an unprompted thank you note out of the goodness of their hearts.
We happen to have gotten one to Cindy Crawford! Major score!
If you want to get a quote from the mailing, extra money.
If you want to secure a photograph of the celebrity with your product, seriously extra money and fees range depending on the talent. Someone from The Hills is going for about 10k - so you can't even imagine what Fergie would cost.
If you want to hire the personality for an endorsement deal - ad, commercial, use of likeness in media collateral - major cash, and while these agencies broker this kind of deal, you can also go to the talent's PR, manager, agent, etc. Note Jennifer Aniston and Vitamin Water.
2. Gift Suites. Many of the aforementioned agencies do gift suites at award shows where your product is there for the taking (hoarding - it is a vulturous experience). Journalists, stylists, stars come and grab. There are photographers. You can get photos and use them. There are fees for such opportunities that vary depending on the event, where the suite is, who is doing it. And the more D-list the suite and its participants, the more D-list the celebs who come and go.
3. Sponsoring an event. Say there is a film premiere, a launch party of any kind. A brand can sponsor and than use their name attached to the event, the celebs who are there, as the event producer (typically a PR kind of agency) will than pitch the event with your brand name to the media. If you get lucky, your photographer could catch - I don't know... Gwen Stefani - with your lip gloss in hand.
Purple Lab is far from that expense.
4. Reaching out to a celebrity's PR team. This is typically useless unless you get lucky. But if you're friends with the publicist, you'll have a better chance of success. In doing so, you mail the product, a note, and a little something for the PR girl/guy. You hope that they send it to their client. You pray that you'll get a thank you note or confirmation from the rep.
I sent a little something to someone who got it to Lisa Rinna, who Tweeted about it. Got to RT and use that in the media, though it has yet to yield a blurb in US Magazine. Still, it was pretty excellent!
7. Donating to gift bags. There are always events looking for donations to gift bags. Some come with fees. Others do not. If you're on the radar of event planners, publicists, etc., you could easily get a call. And typically, when you participate, it comes with the right to use the name of the guests (just make sure that whomever you use does not have a conflicting contract with another brand - major no no).
We were lucky enough to be invited to be in Hollywood chanteuse/producer Jennifer Klein's "Day of Indulgence" which is always featured in InStyle or Instyle.com. Her guest list is super exclusive. And Huge Lips Skinny Hips went to a bevvy of beauties: Rashida Jones, Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell, Michelle Tractenberg.
Another event we were involved with - a group called Buzz Girls, who are insider influentials in LA. They put together regular gatherings with many like-minded types - producers, TV execs, agents, etc. The good thing about getting it to them is that they set trends, pass it on. Because of this contact, it got to E! and went to Guiliana Rancic, who put it on her holiday gift guide on air!
6. Gonzo. Carry product where ever you go. Should you see a celebrity, pounce! If you're an event, make use of your proximity. Sharon, our intrepid PR director, did so recently and secured a placement in In Touch right after. The story is in the vlog below.
See you soon, J.Lo! I'm comin' for you!
Purple Lab Creatrix