Every company has a competitor: Coca-Cola has Pepsi, Microsoft has Apple, Ford has Chevy and Amazon has Walmart. Among these companies, there are a multitude of celebrities promoting the company; basketball star Lebron James promotes Coca-Cola, while soccer phenom Lionel Messi promotes Pepsi. Even companies outside the Fortune 500 range are vying to become household names and to get a celebrity, whether it be a singer, athlete, or moviestar to become affiliated with the brand.
Enter the gifting lounges. These lounges are the ultimate way for companies to expose celebrities and high profile individuals to their products. By sponsoring items to be showcased and distributed at these lounges, celebrities have the opportunity to interact with the product and get to know it on a personal level. A body spray placed in front of them can be sprayed onto their wrists and the celebrity can choose the preferred fragrance to drop into his or her bag. An array of wallets are in boxes on the table and the celeb can open up a few boxes to select the wallet of choice.
How about jeans? The celeb can choose the color, stretch out the material and get a feel for the product. That’s the whole purpose of the gifting lounge, let the celeb guest get a feel for the product.
Through gifting lounges, a celeb guest can fall in love with a product and such an interaction can open many doors for both the celeb guest and the brand. The celebrity may even see potential and be compelled to invest in the company as well.
Alternatively, the gifting lounge coordinators will inform the company that the celeb guest was intrigued by their sponsored product and the company will reach out to the celebrity guest with a proposal.
All of these opportunities come due to the celebrity guest interacting with gifting lounge products. And companies are not hesitant to sponsor products to be displayed and disseminated at the gifting lounges. While the celeb attendees are perfectly able to afford the products given at gifting lounges, companies are eager to have pictures of them checking out the product, as these lounges are key marketing opportunities for the company.
Forbes.com notes that specifically up-and-coming companies are the ones most ambitious to have their items be a part of gifting lounges. The article notes that following the celebrities’ interactions with the item, sales tend to increase as the average person can get influenced by an impressed celebrity.
Another incentive that the companies have for participating as sponsors in gifting lounges is for companies to receive photos of the celebrities with their products. The companies can upload those onto their social media pages for thousands of followers to see, thereby conveying celebrity use prior to hiring a celebrity to pose with their products.
There are many critics of gifting lounges, though. Often they assert that celebrities want to be paid for attending gifting lounges, and that the gifting lounge market has become too saturated, that a gifting lounge does not guarantee success. However, it is up to the producers of the gifting lounge to ensure that the items showcased and sponsored grab the attention of the celeb guests.
In addition, the right way to ensure success of a gifting lounge and to avoid the term, “saturation” is to maintain exclusivity of the lounge. Such methods include not publicly disclosing the venue to keep the guests on their toes. Other methods of maintaining exclusivity is through screening which products are a part of the gifting lounge and having a slim list of attendees so that they can give the product sufficient attention and to avoid unwanted or uninvited attendees.
When conducted properly, gifting lounges are the premium way for brands to expose their products and simultaneously connect celebrities to the products.