For nearly 20 years, the 25 nominees for best actor, actress, and director at the Oscars, have taken home a very expensive gift bag, regardless if they win or not. Included in the package is a plethora of products and vouchers for exotic trips and services from companies hoping they will get a free publicitiy boost when stars mention the brand in a social media post.
The total value of all those gifts can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. This year, the bag put together for the 93rd Academy Awards was valued at $205,000. Gifts range from hydrogen-infused water, a concierge vitamin therapy for hangovers, a 24-karat vape pen, sleep tracker headbands, a four-night stay for two at Golden Door spa, 10 personal training sessions with trainer Alexis Seletzky, a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon and liposuction specialist Dr. Thomas Su, and a three-night stay at the 152-year-old Pater Noster, a lighthouse-turned-hotel off the west coast of Sweden.
Inevitably, there are less expensive items such as a box of cookies, a Postmates cookbook, face masks, socks, vitamins, and candles— but the most unexpected item of all was an NFT tribute to the late actor Chadwick Boseman which was created by 3D artist Andre Oshea.
Celebrity and product-placement marketing company Distinctive Assets was behind this year’s bags, and upon speaking with Forbes, they made it known that many of the items were created by female-owned businesses, black-owned businesses, disabled entrepreneurs, and/or are from brands that embrace diversity, inclusion, health, and philanthropy.
We did want the bags to feel like they had a bigger purpose than just, ‘here’s a bag full of free stuff,’” explained Lash Fary, the marketing firm’s founder, to Fortune. “All of the bags that we’ve been doing have been from female-owned businesses, Black-owned businesses, disabled entrepreneurs, and companies who give back—even ones that you wouldn’t necessarily think give back.”
Forbes also notes that this year, the value of the swag bags dropped $20,000 from last year, the first dip since 2016, when it was cut in half after a legal dispute between Distinctive Assets and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
According to a press release, recipients won’t even have to leave their house to collect their stuff since the bags will be delivered to the nominees via Postmates. It’s also worth noting that celebs are under no obligation to accept the gift bag or promote the items it contains. And while receiving a bag containing tens of thousands of dollars of free stuff sounds nice, it also comes with a hidden cost since the contents of the gift bags are taxable.