Oscars 2014 Coverage: “The Swag”

The Everyone Wins at the Oscars Nominee
Gift Bag

When the Oscar hopefuls gather at
Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre on March 2nd, all but a select few will
find themselves eluded by the golden statuette.  The top nominees need not
despair, however, since a gift bag worth in excess of $80,000 awaits them as a
consolation prize.  For the past 15 years, Distinctive Assets (the company that
produces the Everyone Wins
at the Oscars Nominee Gift Bag
) has consoled the losers in the categories
of Best Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Actress and Best Director,
with the lavish gifts in their post Oscar hours of need.  Lash Fary, the founder
of Distinctive Assets, shared some insight into his role in Hollywood’s biggest

You are one of the pioneers of
celebrity swag. Have you seen an evolution of sorts in this type of marketing
over the years?
In the past 15 years, I have certainly
seen a substantial increase in overall value of our gifts to talent . . . due in
large part to the addition of high-value trips in recent years.  Though we have
always struck a great balance of high-end products along with practical
commodities that everyone, regardless of stardom, can use and appreciate. The
biggest part of the evolution is how accepted celebrity placement is now . . .
more so than any other time in history. Brands no longer consider whether they
should align their products with Hollywood in some way but HOW and at what
financial commitment.
How do you go about choosing what
goes into the Oscar gift bag and how long does it take to pull the whole thing
Selection is based on (1) ability of
brand to pay the promotional fee, (2) availability of category (as we offer
category exclusivity on a first-to-sign basis) and (3) the very basic litmus
test of whether or not the inclusion will positively impact the recipient’s life
(or have the potential to do so). The price tag is NOT our focus but merely a
by-product of doing our job. Yes, it is a year-round endeavor though the
majority of bookings happen from Nov-January.

What is the most memorable item
that has ever been in one of the bags? Can you identify a favorite or stand out
item in this year’s bag?

I’m sure that every nominee who has
ever received one of our bags has a different item that stands out to them, but
for me I always look forward to tasting whatever delightful treat Chocolatines
has put together for the nominees (they have participated for 5 years now).
Their creations are always both beautiful and delicious, but I have to say this
year’s wine-infused chocolates paired with savory complementary elements like
bacon, blue cheese and olives is my personal favorite to date. Magical taste
combos and exquisite packaging!  We always include fabulous trips, and this year
is no exception . . . from Canada to Japan and Las Vegas to Hawaii we have them
covered. The trip I’m most excited to take myself this year is from Rocky
Mountaineer . . . it’s a luxury rail journey through the Canadian Rockies with
Gold Leaf Service and stunning views from a glass-domed rail car.
How do the recipients receive the
bags and do you have a favorite story that you can share about someone’s
reaction to the gift bag? Has anyone ever refused the gift bag?
The bags are delivered by us the day
after the Oscars. Whether it is to the star’s home, production company or agent
varies depending on whether or not we have an existing relationship with them
and have gifted them before. Because we have been in this biz for 15 years, we
have direct relationships with lots of talent. The only person I can ever
remember refusing a bag is Sandra Oh. And George Clooney always auctions his off
to benefit a favorite charity. Some of the past recipients who have most
zealously and appreciatively gone through their gift bags and called to redeem
various gift certificates include Amy Adams, Hugh Jackman, Ron Howard, Helen
Mirren, Diane Keaton and
Jennifer Lawrence.
How soon will you start to work on
next year’s bag?
The day after this year’s Oscars!
Here is the full list of gifts for this
year’s lucky losers:
Chocolatines Savory Wine Infused
Chocolate   $80.00
Halo Pet Food Shelter
Donation     $6,100.00
Rocky Mountaineer Rail
Journey     $6,850.00
Max Martin Luxury
Shoes     $750.00
Slow Watches       $290.00
Dosha Pops Herbal Tea Based
Candy    $35.00/6 pack
Blossom Blends
Tea      $49.95
Steamist Total Sense Home Spa
System    $2,560.00
Narrative Clip Automatic Camera and
App   $279.00
Hydroxycut Weight Loss
Products    $38.96
Polar Loop Activity
Tracker     $109.95
Handbags       $279.00
Rouge Maple Gourmet Gift
Package    $280.00
Huntley Drive Fitness Personal
Training Sessions   $850.00
Celebrity Acupuncturist/Nutritionist
Heather Lounsbury  $500.00
Dinnerware      $59.00
M3K Beauty
Products      $100.00
Aviv 613 Vodka       $30.00
Jan Lewis Designs
Accessories     $400.00
Le Petit
Cirque       $575.00
Imanta Resorts
Vacation     $3,300.00
Koloa Landing
Resort      $2,000.00
Loaded: The Story of a
Ghost     $49.95
Makeup Studio by Diane Capt Organic
Products   $105.00
Simon’s Happy Pet
Shampoo     $15.00   
Bee Free Honee Organic Apple
Honey    $39.00
Betty Jane Homemade
Candies     $69.75
Cannonball Wine
Company     $60.00
Acure Body and Hair Care
Products    $300.00
Cherry Knit & Co.
Mittens     $158.00
The Green Garmento Garment and Tote
Bags   $23.00
Mane ‘n Tail Hair
Products     $95.35
Hisy Bluetooth Camera Shutter
Remote    $24.99
Epic Pet Health Eletrolyte
Therapy    $1,571.98
°Coolway Go Pro Hair
Dryer     $120.00
Vetvik Luxury Leather
Goods     $230.00
Mace Brand Pepper
Guns     $120.00
Gizara Arts Gift
Certificate     $5,000.00
Wrag Wrap Sustainable Gift
Wrap    $15.00
Drainwig Drain Protector
Krystal Klear Water Filtration
System    $4,895.00
The O-Shot Rejuvenation
Procedure    $2,700.00
Artas Robotic Hair Transplant
System    $16,000.00
Walk Japan
Tour      $15,000.00
Best Of Las Vegas Vacation
Package    $9,000.00
– Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr: betterbetsny.tumblr.com

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.