TIFF 2017: The Business Of Celebrity Gifting Lounges

TIFF 2015 is officially underway. And for celebrities, that not only means walking the red carpet but also getting a few perks from the celebrity gift lounges. Rockies to a “liposuction and fat reduction package.” And companies pay big bucks for the opportunity to gift their products to stars.

So many Sorels to choose from!

Others are a little more reasonable. Emmys later this month. Celebs who swing by can expect beauty products, massages, boots and cocktails. So many Sorels to choose from! This lady will fix you right up. After checking out what they’ll be taking home, celebrities can kick back with a cocktail.

Why do we give all this free stuff to celebrities who can afford it? The seeming injustice of the whole concept of a celebrity gifting lounge seems to annoy a lot of people. This is how Debra Goldblatt-Sadowski, whose company rock-it promotions puts on the experience, breaks it down. And everybody is entitled to fun.

Erica Robles-Anderson, who teaches a course on fame at New York University, understands how this may seem like another example of how “the rich get richer,” and receive things that others (who can’t afford them) could probably benefit from more. But she also sees celebrity gift lounges as a modern trading post where services are exchanged.

We’re trying to woo somebody to put a little bit of their recognition power into our product.

You’re not paying somebody for something, but you’re not giving it voluntarily. But we all know, of course, that there are strings attached. We’re trying to woo somebody to put a little bit of their recognition power into our product. The idea, obviously, is that if stars are spotted with a certain product, it will be elevated to their level of fame. And often times it works.

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Robles-Anderson said the reason for that boils down to evolutionary psychology. We’re built as social creatures to attribute importance to things that other people also know about. So 2,000 years ago, that would’ve been Caesar, whose face was circulated on coins. With the rise of photography and modern media, celebrities have filled that power void, replacing it with their own image.

Celebrities kind of reflect the mood of people in general. So they’re like loud-speakers. They’re also avante-gardists,” said Jean-Pierre LeBlanc, co-founder ofSaje, a Canadian natural health and wellness line marking its second year at the IT Lounge. Social media definitely helps with that. It can also lead to potential problems.

For instance, the FDA recently had to issue a warning about a product Kim Kardashian endorsed on her Instagram. At the end of the day, the freebies benefit the businesses as much, if not more, than the stars who receive them. The way I like to see it is as an opportunity.

Tastemakers allows a start-up brand to really play on the global stage,” explained Lisa Mattan. She’s the founder of Sahajan, an all-natural, Ayurvedic line of beauty products making its world premiere at the celebrity gifting lounge. Mattan admitted that taking part in the event is an investment, but one she feels is well worth her while.