Golden Globes: What rising stars need to know about gifting suites – and entrepreneurs too!

In addition to all the parties that occur days before the Golden Globes, there are also gifting suites. Each year, at least six to 10 gifting suites spring up in the ritzier hotels and restaurants around Beverly Hills and Hollywood. But instead of hosting A-listers, most of the celebrity attendees are young, up-and-coming stars or working actors.

8th January 2018
/ By Diedre Johnson

Golden Globes gifting suites 2018 DIEDREJOHNSON

One reason is that megastars – who used to flock to the suites to get as much as $25,000 (£18, 500) in free products, trips and services – are able to command a lot more from their own paid endorsement deals while others do not want to accept free things because of their political beliefs (George Clooney famously donated his 2006 Oscar gift bag to charity, for example).

For young actors, the gift suite is not just fun but actually works as a way to increase their visibility.

“It’s great networking and helps you learn about new brands; things that you would definitely help endorse or find suitable for you in what you would use in your lifestyle," says Mason Guccione at the Secret Room event for the ‘Globes’

Guccione, 22, plays the younger version of Nick Jonas' character in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, a recurring role on Golden Globe-nominated Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and is filming Night School with comedian Kevin Hart.

"It’s also to help people who are up and coming get their brands out and the same thing for us networking like this. There are so many people here that you meet and you never know what happens,” he says.

Mason Guccione at the Golden Globes gifting suites DIEDREJOHNSON
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle actor Mason Guccione at the Golden Globes gifting suites

The easy-going, non-corporate vibe appeals to actor Judd Lormand of Seal Team (starring David Boreanaz), a drama about Navy Seals, set to air in the UK on Sky One later this year.

“I love talking to the people who actually make their own products and trying to get them out there. That is so cool,” says Lormand.

“You get a lot of samples and it’s a good thing to do as an actor who has a project that’s coming out or TV show. It’s good PR for the show you’re working on. But overall what I enjoy the most is people who have the tables.

"I was just talking to some people at the GoGo squeez table. I have three kids and I’ve been buying their product for years!”

Golden Globes gifting suite – actor Judd Lormand DIEDREJOHNSON
Actor Judd Lormand (Seal Team) attends the Golden Globes 2018 gifting suites

Secret Room holds gifting suite events three or four times a year just before big awards events, complete with on-site mani-pedis and even onsite botox. This is their 10th year according to organiser, Rita Branch.

“Gifting suites are great for companies to get write-ups and pictures with celebrities holding their product,” she says. 

“A lot of my sponsors tell me once they are back into trade shows and have pics of celebs and their products on their banners, a lot more buyers will order from them."

PRs for such events can send out as many as 200 invites to celebrities and press. Approximately 32 on-site vendours showed and gifted their wares (not to mention the special VIP LL Bean bags full of gifts) for this Golden Globe 2018 Secret Room event.

But what do the gifting suite exhibitors or “sponsors” think of the talent that appears? It’s obviously good for the actors but is there really traction on marketing and sales?

Shannon Bissonnette of Better Than Average Jams and Jellies seems to think so. “Honestly, I think it can be very important because one small Tweet of our small business products could be gigantic for the business. I was actually just talking with someone and he felt kind of silly taking everybody’s product and I said, `Yeah but if you like it, it’s really good for us.’ Even if you just Tweet it out that you like it. It could help a business and it could sell our product for us.

"So yeah, it’s very, very important. You see a hundred people but it only takes one person to say, ‘This product is amazing. It’s going all over my social media,’ and then all of a sudden our website is blowing up."