Posts Tagged ‘gifting suites’

Gifting suites

June 23, 2009

What an intriguing modern day phenomenon the gifting suite is!

Gifting suites, for those unfamiliar with the term, are a sort of behind-the-scenes Aladdin’s Cave at (usually film industry) events, in which the VIP guests and presenters are invited to help themselves to a load of free swag, such as: sunglasses, watches, clothing, jewellery, makeup and skincare products, perfumes, gadgets and so forth.

In fact gifting suites are evolving further, into ‘gifting lounges’, in which the celebs not only score great loot, but while they’re at it also enjoy (free, of course) a facial, a pedicure, a beverage and generally hang out.

The concept seems to have arisen over the past 10 years, when deluxe goodie-bags for event-goers morphed into glittering private lounges laden with merchandise. The aim being for the VIPs to use said merchandise, perhaps rave about it to their friends, and be seen wearing it in public – in the hope of a flow-on trendsetting effect, where we-wear-it-because-J-Lo-does. (The merchandisers must hope like hell that the celeb actually does use the stuff, and not pass it straight on to their housekeeper as a birthday gift!)

It’s a clever idea, apparently developed by a firm called Distinctive Assets – which has managed to not just get free stuff to give to celebrities, but to charge merchandisers for the privilege of doing so.

I’m sure the ‘gifting suite’ concept even has the stars a little bemused. After all, when they were struggling, penniless nobodies and could have done with a few freebies: nada.  And now when they’ve finally gotten rich and successful – and can actually afford pretty much anything in the gifting suites – they get given it free.

So – are these real gifts? In my view, no: they are a commercial transaction, in which merchandisers trade-off freebies to celebs in the hope of downstream sales. Despite the upbeat, feed-good factor of the gifting suites, these lavish gestures are not made out of the goodness of anyone’s heart. Which I guess is why the IRS moved in 2006 to make such gifts taxable.

Get a sneak peek into a gifting suite, below: 

Plus an insight into the services and products on offer at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival gifting suites.