CNN has finally gotten the answer to a question that has been on every American's mind for months now—a question that has been glossed over or ignored completely by economists and pundits alike: How will the Greatest Depression affect the swag suites at the Academy Awards? Short answer: it won't, really. Long answer, from CNN:
"The country has shifted, and I think that bling is out," said Jane Ubell-Meyer from Madison and Mulholland, which bills itself as a VIP gift bag and product placement company. "I think that people are a little more conservative and they don't want to flaunt it in everyone's faces."
Madison and Mulholland is focusing on "affordable luxury" this year. Ubell-Meyer said that her company paid careful attention to the vendors in her suite this year and that it was important to create what she hopes is a respectful and thoughtful image…
But one of the biggest suites in Hollywood is still going all out. Gavin Keilly, CEO of GBK Productions, told CNN that plenty of high-end products were scheduled for his lounge, which caters to Academy Award nominees and presenters.
"It's amazing to me that even in these times, [companies are showing off big-ticket items]," he said. "I think it is even more blingy."
Among those "blingy" items: $10,000 vacations to a destination spa, $8,000 to $18,000 watches, and a year's worth of Botox, Restylane and microdermabrasion valued at $3,000.
So there you have it: bling is out, and yet it's in. Also, the only people who still use the word "bling" are in the "gift bag and product placement" industry—which makes sense.
But how will the gifting suites at this year's greatest-depression-tainted Oscars manage to be "respectful and thoughtful" while throwing $3000 microdermabrasion packages at Marisa Tomei? Easy. Through the careful choice of a tasteful theme:
Attendees of the $100,000 event will pick up their freebies as they are escorted through five 1,000-square-foot rooms, each of which will be decorated in the theme of a best-picture nominee, Keilly said.
He estimated there were at least five to six other extensive lounges for the Oscars.
What a great idea! For the Slumdog Millionaire room, maybe they can throw some dirt on the ground for that authentic Mumbai slum look, then hire some kids, put them in tattered clothes and have them run around "begging" for change amongst the tables piled high with $18,000 watches. Everyone will be having too much fun to notice the incredibly consipicuous consumption. Oh, and for The Reader room, they can set up a mock Nazi war crimes trial behind the many booths giving away $10,000 luxury spa vacations. It'll really put things in perspective: yes this is a parade of excess during a recession, but it's not like we committed crimes against humanity during World War II. What a great message. These Oscar gifting suites promise to be the least disgusting gifting suites ever!