By Charly SHELTON
We have all seen the Twitter pics and Instagrams of the amazing gift bags at the celebrity awards shows and similar events. iPods, game systems, trips to exotic locales – the best of the best. But it doesn’t stop when the bag is empty. Celebrities and special invited guests are invited to a luxury gift lounge, usually before the award show, in a beautiful hotel suite where they receive even more gifts. These are marketing tools to get their products in the hands of trendsetters to popularize them and get the word out. Some gift lounges are just that – a lounge to get gifts. But GBK, a staple in celebrity gift lounges since 2000, makes it something more than just a giveaway. It’s also about giving back.
The 2014 Emmy Awards Luxury Gift Lounge was held last weekend in Beverly Hills at the exquisitely beautiful hotel, L’Ermitage. Surrounded by bottles of wine that are worth more than my car, I entered the gift lounge to see what was offered. LG Tone Infinim wireless Bluetooth headsets provide crystal clear sound in a sleek, futuristic looking neck band that looks like The Sharper Image had a baby with a spaceship.
Maxim Mattress was giving away queen mattresses and $1,000 gift cards to presenters and nominees. Foster Grant, showing off their Vintage collection, had some really nice sunglasses that fit my head better than any other sunglasses I own. The Artisan Group gifted a bag full of handmade goodies including beautiful executive wooden pens, leather journals, artisan soaps, necklaces and bracelets with jewels, beach glass, silver and stamped brass. Michael Todd True Organics gifted Soniclear, the world’s first anti-microbial sonic skin cleaning system, which purifies with red and blue lights to kill bacteria.
One of my favorite things at the gifting suite was a brand new product called LIQR pop. It is a new spin on a frozen cocktail, more of a cocktail popsicle. The alcohol won’t freeze, so it is stored in the handle of the popsicle and the top is the mixer. When eating the frozen mixer, the bottom of the handle is pushed up and the alcohol is infused over the icy treat, creating the cocktail. There are great new takes on some classic cocktails like an apple-tini, a strawberry daiquiri, a margarita or a cocolata (piña colada). These LIQR pops aren’t available to the public yet; the prototypes were given away as samples at the gift lounge, but they will be on sale soon.
From trips to the Mulia Resort in Bali and the Little Nell in Aspen to a gym membership at David Barton Gym in L.A. to silver and gold earrings and bracelets from Di Modolo Milano, this gifting suite had it all. But that isn’t even the best part of the event.
I know, you’re asking, “Charly, what is better than gold and spaceship-necklace-headphones and a trip to Bali?” The best part about the whole event was how many people will be helped by it. Not the celebrities – although they seemed pretty happy, too – but the charities. The orphans and vulnerable children around the world helped by GO Campaign (gocampaign.org), the homeless, neglected and discarded dogs that are saved from high kill shelters and placed in loving homes by Mutt Match L.A. (muttmatchla.org), the many organizations and causes that law enforcement officials support in their philanthropic efforts through Cops 4 Causes (cops4causes.org), and anyone who may happen to live on planet Earth and enjoys having clean air and water were aided in the ongoing fight for environmental protection by the Environmental Media Association
(ema-online.org) – these were the charities that had booths at the gifting lounge. In addition, StarPower, the social media backstage access organization for celebrities to reach their fans directly, offered celebrities a chance to enter a money booth where winds whip cash around and anything they catch, with a guaranteed minimum of at least $200, will be donated to a charity of their choice. Countless other charities have benefitted from that money booth as well.
With so much commercialism in today’s society, it is nice to see that this is about more than just products and marketing. It’s about seeing celebrities getting and giving at these events, to know that making products popular is just as important as making activism popular.
For more information on any of the charities mentioned, visit their websites and check back to CV Weekly for coverage of their events. For example, Nov. 13 is the Go Go Gala for GO Campaign. CVWeekly will be there to provide coverage and support the cause.