“And the Swagbag goes to….Everybody!”

Aidan Doyle poses with gifts from this year’s Distinctive Assets giftbag

When you hear tonight’s #OccarNominees issue statements like “I am happy just to have been nominated” there is a pretty good reason. Even if your favorite nominee doesn’t walk away with a coveted Oscar, they won’t go home empty-handed. Every single one of the 25 nominees for best actor/actress, best supporting actor/actress and best director will receive the now-famous “”Everybody wins at the Oscars” swag bag”.  

Oscars gift bags are one of the awards show’s most unusual and ostentatious traditions — this year’s bags contain stuff worth an all-time high of $232,000, That’s pretty much a quarter of a million dollars. The swag in this year’s bag has a value more than 30 percent higher last year’s $160,000 bag and has even prompted a lawsuit from the Academy itself.

So, what’s in the Oscar nominee swag bag? I convinced DistinctiveAssets, the company responsible for putting together the luxury gift bag to ship me  a 2016 fully-loaded bag. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights:

Among the expensive and obscure gifts are a $1,900 Vampire breast lift treatment, which uses a woman’s own blood to improve skin appearance and softness. Nominees will also receive Haze Dual V3 Vaporizers ($250 each), personalized M&Ms ($300), a Steamist spa package ($5,060), more than $5,000 worth of treatments from 740 Park Plastic Surgery, and a lifetime supply of Lizora Pu-erh Tea Nourishing Cream and Pu-erh Tea Cleansing Bar, a value of $31,200. Although not a complete list, the swag bag also contains:
  • Nuelle Fiera “Arouser for Her” — $250
  • Three fitness training sessions with Jay Cardiello — $1,400
  • A complimentary three-day stay at the Golden Door resort and spa in San Marcos, California — $4,800
  • Three complimentary nights at Grand Hotel Tremezzo near Lake Como in Italy — $5,000
  • Three complimentary nights at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy — $5,000
  • A donation of 10,000 meals to an animal shelter or rescue of the nominee’s choice — $6,300
  • A year’s worth of Audi A4 rentals from Silvercar — $45,000
  • Private, full buyout of any Walk Japan tour for two for up to 15 days — $54,000
  • VIP all-access trip to Israel — $55,000

For a complete detailed list of this years bag, click here.2016 Everyone Wins Gift Breakdown

So why give all this free stuff to rich movie stars?

A-listers actually using a brand’s products can do more for business than expensive advertising — even advertising that features celebrities. In other words, the image of a celebrity holding your product posted on Instagram or captured by “Access Hollywood” is just as good as traditional advertising

Some celebrities refuse the bag!

It has happened that in the past, (although rarely!) stars have refused to accept their bags. The principal reasons put forward have been conflicting endorsement deals, Additionally, they can take a charitable contribution deduction if they donate the gift bag to a qualified charity. But the fair market value of the gifts must still be reported on their tax return.

Offensive Offerings?

Earlier this year, Academy filed suit against Distinctive Assets, claiming the latter’s gift bags constitute trademark infringement and damage to the Academy’s reputation. Additionally, this year’s bag includes a few items the Academy has deemed “unsavory,” such as marijuana vape pens, sex toys, and a “vampire breast lift,”

My conclusions and predictions for the Oscars?

  1. The Oscar Bag is here to stay.
  2. One or more of next year’s Oscar Nominees will be African American.

Thanks to Nicole Bryant at Distinctive Assets and good luck to all the 2016 nominees!