(4 Mar 2018) LEADIN:
It’s award season in Hollywood and for many Los Angeles celebrities, that also means it’s freebie time.
Nominees that miss out on the big prize might get some consolation from generous gift bags, containing tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of products.
Eyeing up a free gift in Hollywood.
A number of gifting suites are busy luring celebrities and their teams in the hope of promoting new products and services.
Award nominees are being offered a $100,000 USD gift bag by a marketing firm not affiliated with the Academy Awards.
Gift bags are not sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The goodies include something for everyone, from indulgence and everyday products, to holidays and anti-ageing products.
Distinctive Assets, a Los Angeles-based marketing firm puts together the ‘Everyone Wins’ bags for nominees in the ‘Best Actor,’ ‘Best Actress,’ ‘Best Supporting Actor,’ ‘Best Supporting Actress’ and ‘Best Directors’ categories.
Items include everything from skincare products to jewellery and holidays.
“This is our 16th year putting together the ‘Everyone Wins Nominee Gift Bag.'” says Lash Fary, the founder and president of Distinctive Assets.
“This is an independent production and we have no association with the Academy, which means that we choose to only gift the 25 top nominees in the acting and directing categories.
“Over the past 16 years, we’ve gotten such incredible feedback from the celebrities who get these gift bags.
“We roll this up right to their front door or to their hotel rooms, if they’re visiting Los Angeles, and we love seeing them act like children on Christmas morning going through this fabulous gift bag.”
In 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sued Distinctive Assets and the case was settled amicably.
The settlement stated that the Academy and the Oscars have no relationship with Distinctive Asset’s offerings and the marketing company would not use the Academy’s trademarks.
Just before the 2006 Oscars, the IRS flagged up the bags as taxable income, adding those who accepted them would have to pay up.
A few months later, the Academy and the IRS reached a settlement on undisclosed taxes from bags given out in previous years.
The Academy also announced it would no longer be giving out the giftbags, having already quietly voted to stop the practice. Marketing companies have continued to provide gifts to celebrities.
Janice O’Leary, the Los Angeles editor of the luxury lifestyle magazine ‘Robb Report,’ says award season is always an exciting time in LA.
“It is a wild weekend in LA,” she says.
“The energy here is really high and you see this uptick in luxury, all over LA, over this weekend and even for the past few weeks, you feel that energy.
“People are driving their fancy cars, backing them out of the garage, taking them to the award ceremonies and viewing parties. The Peninsula is unrolling some Rolls Royce’s, the Waldorf Astoria has a few Aston Martins on hand for a few VIP guests.”
This year, celebrities are also being offered holidays, including a 12-night trip for two to Tanzania by International Expeditions.
The trip includes private air flights, all meals, spa services, nightly cocktails, hot air balloon, safari with champagne breakfast, private safari guide and vehicle, chef-guided cooking lessons, wild game drives and walking safaris, horseback riding, snorkeling and lodging at Serengeti Migration Camp.
Koloa Landing Resort at Poipu in Hawaii is a 6-night/7 day trip in a deluxe ocean villa.
Avaton Luxury Villas Resort, a member of Relais & Chateau, is offering a contemporary beach front escape, overlooking the waters at Halkidiki, Greece.
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