When Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt introduced Shiloh to the world wearing a Kingsley t-shirt, the garment went into immediate back order.
Celebrities are mighty powerful, we all know that. Their wearing, or using, an item can mean instant sales and forever cool.
In 2007, when celebrity news was full of stories about gorgeously pregnant Latina stars, my company — Los Pollitos Dicen — and three other unique Latina-owned businesses put together gift baskets for Salma Hayek, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez.
We participated because of their star power, of course, but also because the mom in us recognized the mom in them. All Latinas, all on adventures – business and mothering.
I had resisted sending gifts to celebrities because it felt kinda funny, you know? But, with these three it just felt right. (I particularly have empathized with Hayek and Lopez who, like me, came to mothering a little later in life.)
Anyway, the point of this post is not really to tell you about our gift baskets, (which really were very cool), but to tell you, small business owner with little dinero, how to get your product into the right celebrity hands, and do it as inexpensively as possible.
If you’ve ever looked into giving “swag,’’ as they call it, through a gifting company or at a celebrity event like the Grammy’s, you know it isn’t cheap. Participation can run from $50 to hundreds or thousands of dollars, not to mention the cost of the products. It could pay off. Or it may not.
So, while you grow your business and ponder whether to pay a lot to send gifts via a swag company, I’m going to tell you how we did it. It will cost you more than $50, but not much more than that and some time. So…
HOW TO SEND A CELEBRITY A GIFT BASKET:THE CRIB SHEET
· Head over to Who Represents and search the Celebrity of Choice.I like to start with the publicist. (You can register for the service if you need to).
· If no publicist is listed, look for manager or management company.
· Then, Google the name of the publicist and the star to see if that spokesman or spokeswoman has been speaking for the Celebrity of Choice lately. (Databases can be out of date.)
· If you can’t find free information, Google your Celebrity of Choice and words like “publicist’’ and “spokesman’’ and “spokeswoman.’’ Make sure any results are current. You also can hang out over at Perez Hilton or any celebrity site of choice – People, TMZ, etc. and keep track of whose talking for whom. And sometimes, celebrities have contact information on their personal web pages.
· So, once you’ve confirmed that a particular publicist still does speak for Your Celebrity of Choice, Google the publicist to find his, or her, address and company name.
· Call the company and ask for the publicist’s office. Don’t bother asking to speak to the publicist herself. Tell the receptionist – which we all know, knows everything – you would like to send a gift basket to the Celebrity and need the best address. Speak kindly and confidently.
· Now, the PR person’s office might refer you to the agent’s office or the star’s personal office. Call, don’t e-mail.
· Say “Thank You Very Much” and head to the post office.
We sent baskets to three celebrities. I got addresses very quickly for two. For the third, the receptionist gave me a publicist’s e-mail address. Of course, she never answered. So, I called back and got the management office name and address. After a quick call and an address, off the basket went in all its colorful glory.
The baskets arrived at their destinations and they were not sent back, which always is a possibility. Then, we posted this press release on PRWeb. (See the release to read about my partners.)
Cost to upload release: $80, split by four. Because I wrote it, there was no additional release-writing cost, but if you need someone to write it, you’ll be looking at $100 to $300.
What did our businesses get out of it? I can’t speak for the other vendors, but the Pollitos got exposure and sales. The Web pages and message boards that featured us will hang around for a long time, so we’ll continue to get some exposure.
And I know you want to know: Did we get a Gracias?No. Not yet. I am not sure one was expected.
However, can’t say we’re not all hoping for a photo of our gear in People or on Perez Hilton’s site. Personally, I am keeping fingers crossed Jennifer’s twins make a public appearance wearing their “Gordito’’ and “Gordita’’ onesies.