You'd think no one would ever get tired of free stuff but when it comes to TIFF's celebrity gifting spots, making over the concept every year is essential to guaranteeing a good star turnout.
For the uninitiated, the swag suite is a pop up shrine to product placement. During an event like the film festival, public relations companies and marketing agencies try to lure the unusual abundance of bold face names in town at one time to lounges set up in hotel penthouses, office boardrooms and any other space they can stock with brands and the goods they're willing to give away for free. The hope is the celebrities will stop by to score some complimentary merch and, at the very least, allow their photo to be taken while they collect their haul.
Those pictures are then sent out to magazines and newspapers with captions like "so-and-so stopped by the lounge yesterday and loved so-and-so's new such-and-such" with the hope that the star connection will earn the product some play on their pages.
The celebrity lounge field is getting cluttered though so it's not surprising that the companies behind them are upping the ante this TIFF. Here are three that caught our eye yesterday.
"Go big or go home" seems to be Target's strategy for its first major marketing push north of the border in advance of opening stores here in 2013. The retailer has taken over the entire Templar Hotel on Adelaide, branded it to the hilt with a red and white colour scheme and its bulls eye logo and invited media covering the festival to camp out in its rooms over TIFF's opening weekend.
IT Lounge Photo Studio
Seven years ago, NKPR founder Natasha Koifman was approached by a client about seeding products with celebrities during TIFF. While her agency had never hosted a lounge before, she knew the client would go elsewhere if she didn't create a gifting concept and the IT Lounge was born.
This year, she decided to add a photo studio to the mix and collaborated with her client RW&CO to bring renowned fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier to town today to shoot a handpicked list of celebrities including Trudie Styler, Viggo Mortensen and George Strombolopolous.
"It's important that we switch up the concept every year," says Koifman. "Transforming it (into a photo studio) was a natural progression and integration of our love of photography and fashion."
Nikki Beach X Philosophy
Multi brand lounges are the norm but sometimes keeping the concept simple and focused gets a brand's message out best. The Spoke Club roof top has been taken over by international party outfit Nikki Beach and beauty brand Philosophy which has set up an alfresco day spa space for hand massages and product sampling. Up for grabs are Hope in a Jar moisturizer and, every TIFFer's skincare essential (even on day two) Eyes Wide Open depuffing gel.