Hooray for Hollywood!

Hooray for Hollywood! And Broadway! And TV and hometown theater! And local film festivals! Why? Because entertainment award events-like the Oscar or MTV awards or even local TV Emmy awards-provide jewelers with unique, attention-getting ways to boost business and build community awareness of their stores.

Such events are naturals for marketing tie-ins and promotions, because they showcase not only celebrities but also fine jewelry and watches. And what celebrities wear can influence styles and trends. The late Princess Diana was credited with popularizing colored stone engagement rings. And remember how pearl station necklaces took off a few years back after Rene Russo wore one in the movie Tin Cup, and how Y-necklaces were popularized by the TV show Friends? De Beers certainly does. Its efforts to promote “diamond line bracelets” (formerly known as “tennis bracelets”) as a fashionable, high-end purchase included giving presenters at the 2000 VH-1 Vogue Fashion Awards-such as actress Claire Danes-diamond line bracelets as gifts.to be worn by the stars and seen by the public.

The following are a few suggestions for promotional or marketing tie-in opportunities. Remember, publicity is essential, so contact your local press and media several days or weeks in advance of your events to get print, photo, or TV coverage.

Roll out the red carpet. Hold a pre-Oscar, in-store party for your regular customers. Lay a red carpet at the entry. Hire “paparazzi” to photograph customers as they arrive or while they’re in the store. Give customers free copies of the photos, either on the spot or by mail during your marketing follow-up. Prominently display or highlight jewelry (e.g., diamond line bracelets, platinum jewelry) that will be worn by the stars. Take advantage of support material provided by watch and jewelry suppliers. Put up movie or TV posters in the store. Hire celebrity impersonators to circulate and sign autographs. Invite a leading local actor or TV personality to attend as a host or special guest, perhaps in return for a donation to his or her favorite charity.

A variation: Create a special display or devote a section of your store to jewelry and watch styles popular with movie or TV stars, using support materials from jewelry groups (such as Platinum Guild International, the Diamond Information Center, or the World Gold Council) and suppliers.

Hometown honors. Start your own local pre-Oscar (or Emmy or Golden Globes) award tradition. During the week before the national event, hold an in-store press conference announcing an entertainment award-related donation-for example, a scholarship for a film student at a local high school or the top drama student at the local college; a fine piece of custom-designed jewelry to be awarded at the regional TV Emmy Awards; or a donation to an entertainment charity. The presentation can be made in your store’s name by the head of the local drama group or theater, or perhaps a TV critic. If you’re feeling really creative, design your own award statue for the presentation.

“And the winner is.” After the Oscar nominees are announced, use direct mail (print and e-mail) as well as local newspaper ads to invite your customers to guess who will win in the top five categories (Best Picture, Best Actor and Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Actress). Reward those who guess correctly with a certificate worth 10% off their next purchase, free jewelry cleaning, or maybe a celebrity poster provided by one of your suppliers. A variation: Collect the names of all those who submitted correct answers and enter them into a drawing to be held at your store a few days after the Oscars (no more than a week). The winner takes home a watch or piece of jewelry (a slow-moving piece, perhaps, or one donated by a vendor in return for publicity) like that worn by the stars.

Design.donate. Design jewelry for a hometown beauty contest or donate merchandise for the winners-in exchange for appropriate advertising recognition, of course. Donate items (for example, a well-known brand name watch or piece of jewelry) to a “goody bag” for presenters at local or regional award events, àla the Golden Globes or Oscars, with appropriate mention of your store in the event’s announcements and advertising. Don’t forget to mention your involvement in your own advertising, too.

.or display. When you find great pictures of a celebrity wearing jewelry or a fine watch, or recurring stories in print or TV of many stars wearing the same piece, create a display of similar items from your own inventory. When displayed next to your pieces, images of Hollywood actresses wearing the same type of jewelry is an effective way to connect your store to a national style or award event.

The play’s the thing. Develop a promotional relationship with your local drama group or theater. Hold a pre-Tony Awards fundraiser in your store, complete with posters and playbills from recent productions, waiters circulating with champagne, and actors from the theater group mingling with guests.

Show ’em what you’ve got. On the night of a national award event like the Oscars, Emmys, MTV awards, or Golden Globes, invite your best customers to an after-hours in-store party. Give out your own awards (serious or gag) and drape volunteer “models” in jewelry styles.

Spot what’s hot. Pay attention to the TV, photo, and print coverage (i.e., Entertainment Weekly, Access Hollywood, or TV’s pre-award shows) of events like the MTV, VH-1, and Oscar and Emmy awards as well as coverage of parties and openings. Note the emerging style trends-new looks, accessories, trendy clothing colors and cuts. In the days immediately after the event, create a store window reflecting what was unveiled in jewelry and watches at the ceremony. When talking with customers, focus on a particular jewelry piece, style, gemstone, or watch brand that’s becoming popular.