Home #Hwoodtimes Celebrity Gift Lounges by Hollywood Marketing Genius Gavin Keilly

Celebrity Gift Lounges by Hollywood Marketing Genius Gavin Keilly

Hollywood marketing genius Gavin Keilly, also known as the “godfather of gifting,” has created celebrity gift lounges prior to award shows, launch parties and charity golf tournaments for over 20 years.

While major brands will pay an A-lister millions of dollars to be a spokesperson, many indie companies can’t afford to do that, explained Keilly.

“This is why my informal gift lounges are a cost-effective way for companies to meet celebrities and hopefully establish a long-time collaborative relationship. Brands have the ability to take a photo with the celebrity and their product at their booth, which can then be used to boost the company’s social media. They can also use these photos on the company website, trade shows and submit the photos to press to write stories on these up and coming brands.

Celebrities and influencers who visit Keilly’s tastefully decorated suites enjoy supporting small to medium-sized businesses.

“Viola Davis, Angela Bassett, Anthony Anderson, Neal Patrick Harris and many others spend an extraordinary amount of time talking with the brands. They all have told me that they enjoy being able to help these small to medium-sized companies grow. They know a photo with them, and their product can help build awareness, which then translates into consumers making purchases.”

Viola Davis

Giving Back

GBK stands for Gavin Blake Keilly, but many people have said it stands for “Giving Back Kindly,” a motto Keilly is passionate about.

“It’s incredibly important to me to include non-profit organizations in all of our gift lounges,” he noted. “It gives the charities an opportunity to educate the celebrities, influencers and press attending, about the good work they are doing to make a difference in the world. The hope is these powerful individuals will get involved either by attending one of their future fundraising events, gifting a donation or writing about them.”

With the help of Keilly’s vendors, his in person events have donated over $10 million in products, services and cash to over 50 different causes.

“I have worked with numerous organizations, including the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Red Cross, Cancer Cares, Dream Center, Save the Children and Educating Young Minds,” he acknowledged proudly.

Keilly recently worked with an Australian health and wellness company CareA2+ at his OSCAR® Event to donate their baby milk cans to the Casa de los Angelitos pregnant women’s shelter, a not-for-profit maternity home that helps pregnant women in crisis situations in honor of the celebrities attending.

“It truly was an honor for us to be the lead sponsor at Gavin’s event and help moms in need,” said Jacquie Blaze, Care’s U.S. CEO. “This was a fantastic way to connect with celebrities and help this very worthwhile charity.”

How it Started

Keilly has always been drawn to marketing since he was 10 years old, when he created his first company passing out flyers which helped market small local businesses. “That was so fun! After that, I started my own cookie business at age 14!” he enthused.

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 13: Gavin Keilly and Angela Bassett attend POOPH Critics Choice Luxury Lounge Presented By LA SMILE & GBK Brand Bar at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on January 13, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Wilbert Roberts/Getty Images for GBK Brand Bar)

After college and an illustrious career in telecommunications, receiving nine different promotions, Gavin created an internet startup, where he learned a lot about SEO and the importance of effective marketing. He decided to enter the nonprofit world and took a job at City of Hope as the Director of Development.

After leaving his fundraising gig, Keilly realized how much he was fascinated with celebrity event marketing and the ability to give back and help others. He decided to create his first charity event as an independent entrepreneur, a fundraiser he produced at Ozzy Osbourne’s home with Sir Elton John, honoring Justin Timberlake and Elizabeth Taylor. They raised over $500,000 for Sharon Osbourne’s Colon Cancer Foundation.

Neil Patrick Harris

“That was when I truly learned the power of celebrity, when Ozzy put a watch in his mouth that was gifted by Baume and Mercier. This photo was placed in People Magazine as well as many other noteworthy outlets.”

What Brands Get

When prepping vendors who are participating in these luxury gift lounges prior ESPYS, the Emmys backstage at the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, etc. Keilly’s advice is to always give the celebrity their business card and try to build a relationship with them.

“This is an excellent idea, not only because the company can supply them with more products in the future, but more importantly they also can potentially receive their reactions to the product and get a quote. If a celebrity really likes the item, their supportive words can be used as testimonials on the brand’s website, or potentially be a spokesperson.”

Brands that participate in GBK’s events see a strong ROI (return on investment).

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 09: Storm Reid attends GBK Brand Bar Pre-Oscar luxury lounge at Beverly Wilshire, Presented By CareA2+ at Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel on March 09, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for GBK Brand Bar)

“I think that brands being there in person and having one on one interactions with the celebrities and the press is definitely the best way to market one’s products. I work ongoingly with Critical Mention, an independent research company that calculates the value of press received after my events. They tell me my title sponsors received over 2 billion in press impressions. That’s truly amazing—I love seeing the smile on everyone’s face after they participate!”

Julie Mulholland, founder of the entertainment marketing and public relations agency, Mulholland Drive Entertainment, has known Keilly since he first started.

“During this time, so many of the brands I’ve represented have participated in his events, ranging from larger, more established brands like Sabra Hummus at the DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl and The George Lopez Celebrity Golf Tournament to smaller start-up brands who have not been in business as long, such as Glow Pups and Mindful Wellness at the most recent Oscars event at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The reason I keep recommending GBK to my clients is because celebrity sells, and Gavin is the best in the business at what he does – always delivering a high caliber of talent and a robust return on investment for my brands.”