How to Get a Star to Use Your Product

Have a dress, bauble, or shoe you want to see on the red carpet? Product placement expert Susan Ashbrook explains how to do it

Put together a target list of 50 to 100 celebrities who might like your product. Cast your net wide. Find those celebrities’ handlers—their managers, publicists, stylists—using websites like Who Represents and IMDb. Call and pitch your product in a succinct manner. Most often they’ll ask you to e-mail photographs and a paragraph about what it is you’re asking.

These people are bombarded with products, sometimes thousands each week, so, depending on the cost of your item, it may be worth sending a sample. Package it nicely, so opening it reminds them of Christmas. Your message should include a bit about yourself and your company and why you think the product would be great for that particular celebrity.

Your company’s story can make a big difference. I had a client named Elsie Katz who, right out of the gate, got Sharon Stone to wear her clothing. She lives in a rural area near Seattle and her message was, “I design really fabulous dresses, but my life is pretty simple.” Sharon loved her story. At one event, a reporter asked what Sharon had on and she said, “I’m wearing Elsie Katz Couture, and this designer is probably out milking cows as we speak.”

Once you’ve sent out the product, it’s all about persistence. Follow up and ask if the product has arrived and whether you can touch base in a couple weeks to see if they like it.

A yes doesn’t mean you’re done. If your product isn’t what the celebrity’s wearing to the Oscars, you’ll have to wait for them to be photographed wearing or using it. You should have a list of editors and bloggers ready for when it happens, so you can say,

“Hey, these celebrities are using our product.”

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