Stuff And Swag


Let’s be honest: we all want it. Those who are squeezed for cash wax prosaically about the fact that they are so much happier without all that “useless” stuff they see other people acquiring. They are just envious. Trust me: I live in Montecito where stuff is king.

Those king-sized $50,000 rose gold watches and Bentley Continental GTs tooling around town are not exactly ubiquitous, but not uncommon either. I saw an Aston Martin Rapide the other day outside my coffee shop. Very cool.

Ferraris frequent on the weekends and are mostly driven by 40-ish guys who have that hedge fund look about them. I hear my neighbor fire up his new Maserati in the morning and I will admit to some envy because I like cars. Now, my neighbor is a very cool guy and reads my blog, so I don’t want to infer there is something wrong with stuff. Far from it.

Stuff is king and that is what drives the economy. I love it when my friends get cool stuff. I’m mostly not envious because I’ve got stuff too, and I rather enjoy their success. It’s fun to watch them enjoy the fruits of their business genius. Sure there are excesses everywhere. Especially from the ones who have to tell you about their stuff. The cool guys just let it lie.

I came across this article in Business Week this morning about swag:

Swag: The Currency of Hollywood

For many companies, giving away tons of free stuff to celebrities is more rewarding than advertising

Every winter, Hollywood’s biggest stars descend on film festivals and awards shows to promote their latest projects, exchange air kisses, and—most importantly—walk away with thousands of dollars in swag. At last month’s Sundance Film Festival, James Franco, Jeremy Piven, and Elizabeth Olsen (the other other Olsen sister) were frequent guests of gifting suites. Items up for grabs ranged from tubes of Supergoop! sunscreen and Samsung Galaxy Tab handheld computers to Carrera sunglasses and Puma sneakers. Attendees were following in the footsteps of Paris Hilton, who once left a 2009 Sundance lounge with more than two dozen bags of free merchandise.

Last year’s Oscar nominees got:

  • $45,000 African safari trip complete with personal chef at the Lions Sands Game Preserve in South Africa
  • $14,500 stay at the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel in Monaco
  • $7,000 rustic getaway at the Winvian Luxury Hotel in Connecticut
  • gourmet chocolate from Chocolatines by Sweet Endeavours (including Chocolate-dipped bacon)
  • personal training sessions and a one-week all inclusive fitness bootcamp
  • online shopping cards
  • Tiffany cat collar and “designer dog toys”
  • WooLoot sport watches
  • iFLY indoor skydiving experience
  • HGTV “Green Home” mattress by Serta
  • The Pig Board
  • personal security alarm
  • 1 year supply of Altoids Smalls

Before you say “those lousy bastards” let me say that the fault of stars and swag is you not them. Can you believe it that if Jeff Bridges wears Levis 501s® the chances are that you’ll wear them too. Hey, I do. While Mr. Bridges is a resident of my fair town, and while he’s hard to escape if you go to the movies (he’s a very fine actor and I’m told a stand-up guy), I’ve bumped into him maybe three times in the many years I’ve lived here.

But it’s true and if Lions Sands Game Preserve gets another Monteciteño, Rob Lowe and his family, to stay there, trust me, everyone will know it. He gets a great safari and they get a million dollars of free advertising thanks to ET and the like. I’m not name dropping here because I don’t know Mr. Lowe.

But … who wouldn’t like to walk into one of those swag suites and walk off with those goodies. I’m envious. I can hardly wait for the Bloggies when I as a loser get to assuage my hurt feelings in the swag room.


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