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Quick Hits: No Swag for the Stars?


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

Dour economic conditions are giving new meaning to the expression "you can't even give it away."

At a time when A-list celebrities are lining up in droves for free swag in anticipation of award-show season, 2009 is turning into a nightmare for event organizers. In a world 99.9% of Americans will never see, peddlers of the non-essential like Coach (COH), along with everyday retailers like CVS Caremark (CVS) pay big bucks to foist their brands on Hollywood's biggest stars.

According to Variety -- which, for those of us who get celebrity news at our supermarket checkout counter (or from the perpetually grinning Mary Hart), is a major industry magazine -- gift-giving suites are struggling to find vendors for this year's Golden Globe Awards. Sponsors fear celebrities flashing expensive threads they didn't pay for could anger potential customers, many of whom are lining up at the Buffalo Exchange to hawk their old Levi's just to make rent.

To counteract this potentially negative press, a few big give-away lounges are raising money for charity, hoping to capitalize on the perceived benevolence of their big-name attendees.

If the ploy doesn't work, however, some of these companies will have to resort to the time-honored -- and recently abandoned – tradition of manufacturing a product customers actually -- gasp! -- need.
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