Should a brand send a gift to a celebrity with no guarantees?
Sometimes, the answer is: YES!
There are steps to be followed, and clients should be advised not to send products to celebrities blindly. More often than not, unwanted products end up on the desk or in the closet of an assistant/publicist/manager, with no result whatsoever. Make sure to reach out first because sometimes a contact will tell you that the celebrity does not receive gifts (and you spare yourself the cost and trouble).
I work with a family brand, Nuna, which has super cute, extremely functional, and easy to use strollers, car seats and in-house products that make family life much easier. Their products have been spotted being used by celebrities such as Serena Williams, Molly Sims and Jessica Alba, to name a few. Yesterday Nuna received a MAJOR shout out from Khloe Kardashian, who has been seen strolling through Cleveland with True in Nuna’s MIXX2 stroller. Since this wasn’t a paid partnership, it shows the brand that the celebrity genuinely loves the product. What this tells us is that any time we send a Nuna product to a celebrity, it will very likely result in some opportunity, but this is not always the case.
Below are my tips on identifying the proper celebs, handling a relationship with their reps, and explaining to your client that while results are not promised, there is always a chance of a coverage.
BE ON TOP OF THE NEWS
If you represent a brand like Nuna, you will want to monitor current and relevant celebrity news, such as who is pregnant. If you represent a brand with a healthy snack like One Bar, you will need to know everything about individuals who are mindful of their eating habits and may follow relevant dietary approaches. Either way, it might entail a little (or extensive) online stalking for comments they make or anything that is written about celebrities that is relevant to your client. Once you identify the right people, you will want to immediately present the idea of seeding product or partnering with them to your client to discuss the pros and cons of the brand association. It is important for you and your client to come to an agreement on why someone is a fit for the brand.
If anyone does want to gift product to a celebrity, make sure they understand that you cannot guarantee any brand endorsement. That way, you are not setting yourself up for failure, and you are managing the client’s expectations.
WHO TO REACH OUT TO
Do not expect to be speaking directly with Khloe. Or Kylie. Or Serena. All of these celebs have people they hired to deal with these requests. They are NOT like us and do not respond to their e-mails personally, and an Instagram DM is not the best way to reach them. Be sure they will NOT respond to you. As an agency, we make it our business to know the best contact for any celebrity or influencer and will reach out to that person to introduce the brand and opportunity to work with us. If you must handle reaching out yourself, you should be reaching out to personal assistants, managers, and publicists, but know that there is a likelihood that even they will not get your product into the hands of your desired celeb.
YOU SENT A PRODUCT, NOW WHAT?
Now you wait. Unless you are working with a celebrity with whom you have a paid contract, there is really nothing that you can do except to wait and monitor, and wait. We sent Khloe the stroller just before she gave birth to True and we just waited to see if she would use it in public and be photographed, and she did! And if you get lucky, the celebrity will tag the brand or mention it on their social media. If this happens, make sure to send a thank you note to the assistant/manager/publicist you worked with because she/he may be int he position to make this happen for you again someday. This is the time to thank your lucky stars because it does take a little bit of time and a whole lot of luck to make any celebrity partnership or product seeding pay off.