It would seem that giving away piles of coveted goodies like iPads, diamond jewelry, Palm Pixis and Caribbean vacations would be enough to draw hungry crowds to swag lounges on Emmy Awards weekend.
But with stiff competition for major talent, and the number of gifting suites multiplying, it’s taking a nonprofit theme to lure some of the stars this season.
Gifting suites, a swanky tradition around Hollywood awards shows, are increasingly emphasizing their charitable tie-ins as a way to bring in celebrities who might find it crass to attend an event that resembles trick-or-treating for (already wealthy) adults. Especially because the country’s still mired in the effects of the recession, the focus on donating to worthy causes allows image-conscious stars to haul home some high-end loot without looking completely out of touch.
“Having a strong link to a charity means that the event’s not just about taking, it’s also about giving back,” said Gavin Keilly, founder and chief executive of GBK, a veteran event producer whose Emmy lounge at the SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills will benefit CancerCare and other nonprofit groups. “It gives the celebrities a chance to learn about these charities, and it gives us a better chance of having them show up.”