Whether it's your first time or your fifth time working a celebrity gift suite, there are certain tricks to making the most out of the experience. Find out from the pros who run them what you should do, and learn from other gift bag participants and publicists what made their experiences memorable.
Jane Ubell-Meyer owns Madison and Mulholland, a VIP gift bag and product placement company. They create gift bags for the film, television and music award seasons. Their gift bags have been delivered to celebrities, the media and entertainment and sports industry VIPs.
...Find an event company hosting an event that complements your product or service. For instance if you produce eco-friendly products perhaps a “Green Gift Suite” is a good fit for you. If you want to reach out to celebrities for product endorsement perhaps an Emmy or Golden Globe Suite is what you will want to look into.
...Look at an event company’s website to see past gift suites they produced and call a couple of the vendors who attended to get their opinion of how the suite was run, this will let you know whether or not the company has a reputable track record.
...Become a partner with your swag suite host: get to know them, talk about how you can get the most out of the event, get to know the photography crew so they are around when you need them (when the celebrities have your product), and find out in advance how many people are expected so you have enough product prepared.
...Use collateral from the event to promote your product to your retail buyers. In this case collateral includes photographs of celebrities with your products, quotes from the celebs about your product or brand, press you received at the event or as a result of the event, and anything else you may do to maximize the gift suite. Perhaps you can have every celebrity sign one of your products and auction it off for proceeds to a charity. This could lead to yet another great story for the press and your retail buyers.
...Make your brand “pop” online by sending photos of your product with the celebrities to blogs and other pop culture and fashion websites. Google "swag suites" and you'll find plenty of blogs and websites that do stories about who got what and where they got it where your story could fit in. By offering one of your products to the website for a giveaway you will immediately up your chances of getting an editorial.
...Take a “layered” approach to working with the media by incorporating gift suites and celebrity attachment to your brand into your publicity campaign. This means layer different parts of your campaign: editorial reviews, television segments, trade paper stories, and include gift suites and celebrity attachments that are relevant in your layers.
DON’T...Wait or expect the media or anyone to just discover your product, reach out to them at the gift suites and make yourself seen and heard. Have a great display but also a great and outgoing attitude that will make people want to come see what you have to offer.
DON’T...Ignore your competitors in your field - do what they are doing and more, whether that means sending out press releases about what celebrities were seen with your product, donating product or giving product away at times (when affordable) in hopes that it will translate into a great photo or press opportunity, and remember to reach out to the press immediately after the gift suite with your stories – don’t wait until the story is old news!
DON’T...Think that PR alone translates to sales. You also have to have a great and consistent product or service, regularly be seen and heard in the media and community, and have a great reputation for service and quality. Also, thinking outside of the box both conceptually and marketing-wise will keep the sales rising.