A Gifting I Will Go
The first weekend of Sundance has ended and if you stick around past today, you’ll be one of the few. Everything, and I mean everything happened between Thursday and Sunday. There will still be premieres and other films to watch throughout the week but almost all of the gifting and celeb sightings will wane after Monday. In the past, there was that push to spread the events and hubbub to last until Sundance close but with the economy, it’s back to crushing it on opening weekend.
I made a mad dash, therefore, to start my product march. I walked into the crammed Sky Suite at the Sky Lodge near Main Street and immediately started mingling and eyeballing the products set aside for VIPs. It was the final day for them so a few of the Suite’s sponsors were ‘gifted out.’ Not so for the Perky Jerky dude who insisted I try his caffeinated beef jerky and handed me packets of the mighty meat. At home, Ryan grabbed my can of AXE Twist and you’d think he never saw deodorant before. With the new twist-down cap, the top won’t get lost in your gym bag. Wish they had given me antiperspirant too. Ryan will definitely need the AXE Twist shower gel they included in my bag.
See, not everything gifted at Sundance is targeted for the rich and elite. Just those that dig pampering. I could barely squeeze past all of the cliques of filmmakers and pretty women to speak with the EOS people. EOS (Evolution of Simplicity-www.evolutionofsmooth.com) is a line of natural, affordable skincare products that smell great (not too fruity) and feel silky. Plus, they come in smart packaging. The organic lip sphere is a cute little egg of lip balm made with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba oil, SPF 15 but petrolatum and paraben free. The brand new hypoallergenic body lotion is due out on shelves this month.
All this schmoozing was making me parched. I could either belly up to the Eldridge bar from New York City where DJ Spider was spinning or throw back a cappuccino from Café Bustelo (http://cafebustelo.com/). The company was promoting a sinfully rich hot chocolate (made with milk not water) and single-serving cappuccino packets. Between the espresso and my Low-carb Monster drink, I moved into mission mode for the ultimate coup.
Former supermodel Rachel Hunter fawned all over pieces from Italian jewelry designer Rebecca (http://www.testiusa.com/) and they generously lavished her with a double-chain necklace and $500 chunky stone ring. The brand creates edgy, sexy pieces in stainless steel, bronze and semi-precious stones. After the reps were done snapping a slew of ‘Rachel’ shots, the host turned to me with a warm welcome as if I were just as cool as she was. See, not everyone at Sundance ignores you if you’re not in a film! I walked with a gilded bronze pendant necklace with a pricetag hovering around $600. Gulp. The line is featured at J. Brooks at The Gateway and Fashion Plaza in Murray if you’d like some hands-on shopping of your own.
Just as I was starting to feel extra special, AMC Theaters provided the reality check. AMC gave VIPs a premiere pass for free movie-going at all AMC Theaters for the year. I got a box of Gummi Stars and Twizzlers. Guess it’s a good thing for me that there are no AMC Theaters in Utah. Two other sponsors at the Sky Suite payed it forward by donating to Haiti. Premium LG Group got celebs to sign a limited edition Burton-Corona Snowboard to auction off with a partner charity site. Giiv, gave away gift cards for Global Giving where VIPS choose from about 15 Haitian relief efforts.
One of the coolest gifts and giving idea came from Blanket America (http://www.blanketamerica.com/). One side of the blanket features Obama’s inaugural speech (where he mentions “our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness”), the other, a true old-school patchwork quilt of 13 different fabrics representing our original 13 colonies. For every Patchwork Heritage Quilt gifted at Sundance, Blanket America will give another to the needy. Blanket America aims to provide 1 million blankets to our country’s neediest citizens this year.
How funny I must have looked trotting down Main Street carrying a quilted blanket as I weaved between hordes of people in black peacoats and impractical shoes. I had 10 minutes to get to the Tweet House before they shut down for good. I heard Hitachi’s G-Technology was gifting harddrives. Now we’re talking…
Twitter staked out Park City’s The Shop yoga studio for their multi-tiered showcase of all things social and digital. This first “Tweet House” featured daytime panel discussions, product-gifting, evening special events and performances with live interactive video broadcasts from the “Tweet House,” on Ustream.com. The warehouse space off of Park Avenue was bumping for ‘happy hour’ but the sponsor tables were still manned. I snagged a killer vintage-style cotton shirt from Cohesive (http://cohesiveapparel.com/) before scanning the room for G-Tech. Lots of media technology from sound systems to web interfaces lined the perimeter. It seemed out of place to find Lift Kits insoles. The shoe insoles add an inch of height where no one can see. But I suppose we can all find amusement as the ‘bigger person’. Plus, I always wanted to be 5’7″. Ah ha! I zeroed in. Erin fervently shook my hand and introduced me to the Macbook-compatible G Drive mobile 500 GB USB. The sleek, white porcelain box -just slightly bigger than an iTouch – matches the latest Apple notebooks. The rugged, portable drive comes out next month and offers super speedy storage, rendering and backup(on a 5400RPM 2.5-inch drive).
“The Sundance Film Festival is the largest U.S. gathering for independent cinema and is the perfect venue for our G-Technology products,” said Hitachi Global Storage Technologies spokesman Mike Cordano. “We are pleased to help increase the vitality of independent film and filmmakers, and expand our reach within the film community.”
Everyone sponsor I spoke with said the same thing. They welcomed Sundance as the springboard to exposing them to the world. Can’t wait to dive back in tomorrow.