Celebrities receive tons of free stuff during the awards season. Why? • Good Non profit

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Rafi Anteby makes jewelry with old balls. Some are encrusted with diamonds and other precious stones, while others are in their natural form. His 4 Peace Balls pieces have ended on the neck of celebrities like Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jamie Foxx. While his jewelry has found these illustrious names through different channels, he estimates he has participated in about 50 Hollywood "gift suites" and offered "over $ 100,000" of blingy balls to celebrities of all levels.

As such, Anteby now imagines himself as a pro in this very specific type of celebrity marketing offering free products. He started his own gift cabinet business, which debuted at the 2018 Oscars Weekend and has since then organized another five that ran alongside award ceremonies. This year, the "Rafi Gift Lounge" will be held at the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills on the Friday preceding the Oscars 2019 ceremony. It joins what it believes to be at least 10 other gift suites vying to attract celebrities this weekend.

Rafi Anteby with Rihanna at the American Music Awards 2010. Rafi Anteby

Some critics are skeptical about this concept. One is Robin Tolkan-Doyle, the founder of PR charmed, a Los Angeles-based agency that primarily represents independent beauty brands. In 2015, she wrote on a industry website that she discourages her clients from taking part in these sequels. She always sticks to that.

"You will start seeing the same names again and again. It's like [celebrities] look a little petty. They have so many things. They have rooms stacked. "

What's a suite of gifts?

The Hollywood suite of gifts is the thirsty parent of the price show gift bag. The latter, a bag full of free booty appreciated in the range of five figures and more, is a tradition dedicated during the season of rewards and film festivals like Sundance. Basically, celebrities receive a lot of things in the hope of loving them and talking about them.

With a gift bag, everything is rather passive; it is given or given to celebrities. But in a suite of gifts or a salon, a celebrity usually has to make a conscious choice to show up and take the free items. It is understood that they will take pictures with the items offered to them and / or with the founders of the brands. Sometimes they take place at the same place as other events, but often they take place on different days on outside sites.

Like the gift bags (as Vox explained in its article on the tradition in 2017), most gift suites are not associated with parades that bring together all these potentially lucrative celebrities at the same time, although there are officially sanctioned exceptions. Anteby ran the 2018 BET Awards official suite of gifts, but he is keen to point out that his Oscars weekend show has nothing to do with the Oscars or with his organizing body, the Academy of Arts and Film Science, which sponsors no further of gifts.

Karen Wood, the founder of Creations behind the scenes, draws its credit from the concept of a gift room, by launching behind-the-scenes gifts and experiences at awards and galas in 1994. Backstage Creations euphemistically calls them "retreats". Many other established societies are now organizing them, as GBK Productions, who also organizes weddings and assists companies with marketing and public relations efforts. In a recent Podcast, The founder, Gavin Keilly, said, "There are many bad shows, noting that some do not yield much value.

How much are the gift suites and who is it for?

As with everything happening in Hollywood, there are several levels of salons. Although this is not explicit, the relative opportunity of the show can be understood through a combination of brands offered, the price of "gifts" and celebrities present. Anteby invites around 200 notables, including celebrities, social media influencers and around 20 press points, like Extra TV.

A month before the sequel (which is apparently too early to finalize the presence of everyone), he has confirmation that an actor of A star is born – Andrew Dice Clay, no, alas, Lady Gaga or Bradley Cooper – will be present, as well as some of the 'cast members' Westworld."Although at the time, he still does not know who, a recent Instagram post suggests that this includes Leonardo Nam.

Anteby also confirmed singer Estelle and actors Gerard Butler, Steven Bauer and Michael Irby. His team speaks, but still has no commitment on the part of the social media influencer Andrew Bachelor, aka @ KingBach, which has 17.5 million followers and was once the most followed person on Vine. He has since assumed more traditional acting roles. Chris Noth, Mr. Big, often misses the Anteby events.

According to Anteby, they can all bring home about 25 sellers who will pay between $ 10,000 and $ 50,000, not to mention the cost of the items offered.

Keilly, of GBK, explains in the podcast that registration fees generally range from $ 5,000 to $ 7,500, although the sponsors of the event, whose name is on the rehearsal list and are prominently featured, pay up to $ 50,000. Anteby says some companies will allow brands to participate in multiple gift suites throughout the year, but adds that it's not ideal, at least given its experience as a brand owner because celebrities see the same brands again and again, which dilutes the value of the brand. experience.

Anteby estimates that the value of all gifts in its aftermath is usually between $ 25,000 and $ 45,000. Among the 25 vendors participating in its show, the Oscars include hotels offering trips to Bali, safari in Uganda and Costa Rica. The most expensive is a trip for two, which costs $ 14,000. There are also services such as interior design, personal chefs, a doctor who does facials with stem cells and spas. There are also more traditional products such as alcohol (Cava de Oro), energy products (JumpStart), clothing brands (none of which you have probably heard of) and brands of supplements / vitamins (Source Naturals ).

"Some brands, even if they want to be involved, can not because [attendees] can find in 7-Eleven, I will not bring it to them, no matter how much they pay me. It must be special, "says Anteby. (Maybe he was shading GBK, who already asked Tic Tac to donate his sweets in addition to a charity donation at a gift event. .)

Anteby says he pays between $ 60,000 and $ 100,000 for the organization of his events. He states that there is smoke and mirrors involved in the process. Often, the location of the suite is announced only a short time in advance. He says the suites claim it's because they "do not want anyone to know where they are." But in reality "they are trying to save money and see which hotels have not booked anything. … it's cheaper for them. I take the most expensive hotel in which everyone will rush because everyone is already there, then I spend sushi and me on organic food. This event costs $ 60,000 even before I start. It's expensive. "

In addition to the room and food, he says he also gives $ 100 per participant to buy school supplies for a group of orphans in Myanmar. The money is not disbursed through a specific charity, but every year it goes into the country. teach kung fu classes. Pulling on a charitable component could probably help ease the guilt of participants in search of loot.

There will also be entertainment, including the Mary Mary gospel duo; another Temptations singer, Louis Price; and Sonny Turner, lead singer of Platters.

"Most likely, I will not earn money. And you know what? It's okay. I am happy. Of course, it's a business formula, and I think it's going to grow more and more, "says Anteby. "If I pay my fees and start a good event and help a cause, I'm good."

Once again, why do rich celebrities receive expensive, free stuff?

According to sources, Paris Hilton has already left a suite of Sundance gifts in 2009 with 30 bags of things.

Paris Hilton collecting loot at the Kari Feinstein Sundance Style Lounge in 2009 in Park City, Utah .Barry Brecheisen / WireImage

"People think they are independent, but that's not the case. They come and they really have fun and relax, "says Anteby.

He is adamant on this point. "It's not free. Their name, likeness and look are what they pay for. It's a fair exchange between brands and artists, that's what I see. It's almost like a nice barter. I am living proof. One hundred percent, without celebrities, my brand would go nowhere. "

The images that brands can take with celebrities are crucial in the gift suites. Companies can share them on social media and the reporters who participate in them share these moments.

"Asking a celebrity to wear your product is good, but it's not enough if it does not spread through social media systems," says Anteby. "It's like having a Ferrari in the showroom and no one comes to see it."

Publicist Tolkan-Doyle does not believe it's worth it. "[Gifting suites] are very expensive, they do not guarantee anything, and when you look at the celebrities they actually talk about, it's not the people you want to necessarily represent your brand, "she says, noting that they" not a list . "

"I do not want to criticize these companies," she adds, "but I'm pretty protective of the brands I work with, and I never advise my clients to spend reckless amounts in these areas. "

But Anteby has great aspirations, declaring that he wants his suites to be "just like [how] Clive Davis or Elton John have their events once a year at the Oscars – I want to be the one everyone knows, to which everyone comes. It's a party! "

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