The annual unofficial gift bags sent to Oscar nominees features a Chicago author’s book in this year’s offerings.
Each year, L.A. marketing company Distinctive Assets delivers lavish — and often unusual — gifts to the nominees for best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress and best director. The 2018 gift package includes items such as a $40,000 12-night trip to Tanzania, a crate of California oranges, underarm sweat patches and a 10,000 bowl donation to an animal shelter in the recipient’s name.
Chicagoan Randi Brill’s book “99 Creative WOWs — Words of Wisdom for Business” was selected for this year’s package. The book includes advice for entrepreneurs and graduates that Brill’s been using in her work with clients over the years.
Brill, president of creativity and design agency QuaraCore, said she tailored the book to each nominee in a “celebrity creativity kit,” writing a personalized note in each book and providing supplies such as markers and a candy bar called the “Randi Bar.”
When she found out “99 Creative WOWs” was chosen for the gift bag, “the first thing I did was reach for the phone to call my mom and I lost my mom four years ago, so what does that tell you? It was such an instinctive, special event that I wanted to share,” Brill said.
The gift bag is not affiliated with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — a point made clear after the Academy filed a lawsuit against Distinctive Assets and its founder, Lash Fary, in 2016 for trademark infringement. Products in that year’s goodie bag included a marijuana vaporizer and pricey toilet paper, according to the lawsuit.
Fary said the two parties came to a non-financial agreement to make clear that the Distinctive Assets gift bags are not sponsored or endorsed by the Academy.
Inclusion in Distinctive Assets’ gift comes at a price — there’s a $4,000 promotional fee for products to be featured, according to Fary. He didn’t reveal the price tag of this year’s package but said it’s in the six-figure range, and “is probably the most spectacular we’ve ever put together.” In addition to the Tanzania trip, the “Everyone Wins” gift includes week-long stays in Hawaii and a California destination spa.