Why the Oscars 2016 Swag Bag Was a PR Fail

And the winners are...

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics says unemployment is at 6.2 percent. Every night, there are almost 644,000 people calling a park bench or a cardboard box home. These days, 46.7 million people are living in poverty.

And yet, every year, the Hollywood elite still get all dolled up and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. Even worse, every winner and presenter is given a ridiculously lavish swag bag, worth more than $230,000.

Per bag. Per person. 

Those of us in public relations can see a dark cloud of #PRFail hovering over the bags. For one thing, they may be illegal. How so?

Oscar Statuettes On Display At Chicago Museum Of Science & Industry
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

In 2006, the Academy Awards, under scrutiny from the IRS, discontinued its custom of doling out tax-free gifts.

Yet Distinctive Assets, a Los Angeles-based marketing firm, carried on the practice independently and no one has said a word.

This year’s bag included:

  • Chapstick… worth $6
  • A vaporizer worth $250
  • Slimware plates valued at $30
  • Joseph’s Toiletries toilet paper, priced at $275
  • Personalized M&Ms for $300
  • Laser treatments for $5,500
  • Audi car rentals for a year, valued at $45,000

If that’s isn’t bad enough, try this: a $1,900 Vampire breast lift treatment, which uses a woman’s own blood to improve skin appearance and softness. Then there’s a

israel$55,000, 10-day, first-class trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, courtesy of the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

It’s like the Orlando Convention & Visitors Bureau trying to get people to shine on Disney and Universal Studios, only without all the anti-semitism and douchebaggery.

The Palestinian Boycott, Divest and Sanctions movement, which encourages boycotts of Israel, says that stars who take up the free trip will be propping up the occupation of Palestinian territories.

“As people of conscience committed to justice and equality for all, we urge you to reject the propaganda trips that the Israeli government is offering as part of the Academy’s gift bag.”

“We’re asking Hollywood figures as they did in the apartheid South Africa era to not give their names for Israel to whitewash the occupation and violation of human rights.”

Think that worked out?

Of course not.

Stay classy, Hollywood.

[Source: Fortune, Quartz]