Oscar Gift Bags

It doesn’t matter how much you have. Who can resist free goodies, especially when they are worth a bundle? That’s what the presenters at the Oscars used to look forward to each year when they receive their gift bags from the Academy. These highly-coveted bags were packed with goodies worth up to $100,000. What kind of items could be found in these treasure troves? Everything from iPods to stays at five star hotels to watches worth thousands of dollars.

Why is it that companies would want to give away such expensive products to celebrities, considering that they’re generally more than wealthy enough to pay for them? The companies actually see this as an affordable form of advertising, as a celebrity spotted with one of their products can spark a huge rush in sales. Giving away a product to a celeb is less expensive than a nationwide ad campaign, and the results can sometimes be much more rewarding.

However, as of 2006, the IRS declared that these bags counted as taxable income, leading the Academy to discontinue the presentation of these bags. Instead, for the 2007 Oscars, presenters were given carbon offsets from a company called TerraPass, as well as an offer to have their carbon footprint calculated. While not exactly the same as the swanky swag of the past, you have to give the Academy credit for taking a more green approach to things.

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