Everything you need to know about awards season swag bags from gift lounge connoisseur Gavin Keilly

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

By: Gibson Johns

Swag bag connoisseur and founder of GBK Productions, Gavin Keilly, breaks down the business of award show gift lounges.

Every year, when awards season comes around, so do rumors about celebrity swag bags. Do celebs really get all of those products for free? Who decides which products are included in the gift lounges? Which celebs snag invites and which don't? Tired of always asking myself the same questions, I decided to get to the bottom of those mythical swag bags once and for all.

So, I talked to celebrity swag bag extraordinaire, Gavin Keilly.

SEE ALSO: Molly Sims talks mom guilt, having a 'happy mess' and her 'much harder' third pregnancy

Keilly is the CEO and founder of GBK Productions, one of the top celebrity gifting suites of its kind. His company has been producing top-notch events for A-list celebrities around major award shows for 10 years now, so he knows a thing or two about how these gifting suites come to be.

As we all begin to gear up for award season, allow Gavin Keilly to break down everything you need to know about how celebrities score free products (and how businesses crucially get their products in the hands of celebrities) below:

On when and where gift lounges pop up:

We typically produce anywhere from 8 to 10 luxury lounges a year surrounding any type of award show or major event. That varies from the Grammys, the Oscars and the Emmys to South by Southwest and The Food and Wine Festival.

On how companies get their products into gift lounges:

It happens in a variety of ways. Mostly, it's [about] what products we think the celebrities are going to like. Some of the products are returning products [from previous events], because we have found that the celebrities really like them, so we allow them to come back. But very often it's new and different products that they haven't seen before. We like it to keep it high-end with products like electronics and high-fashion and vacations.

Companies will invest anywhere form $50,000 to $100,000 in one of these events, but they'll get a $3-4 million ROI, which they've done numerous studies on. It's worth the investment!

On how many products/companies get to participate in a given gift lounge:

The average number of products at a gift lounge is around 25 or 30, and 60 - 70% of our businesses are small to medium-sized businesses that have only been around for three to five years. They are really trying to educate the celebrities and the press about their products and want to get them into influencers' hands.

On why he doesn't believe in actual swag bags:

[Swag bags] are not a very good investment. [You shouldn't] just put your products in a gift bag, because you never really know who's getting it. Our lounges are quid pro quo, meaning the celebrities are taking a photo with a product in exchange for that product.

See photos of Gavin Keilly with some celebs that have stopped by his lounges through the years:

41 PHOTOS
Gavin Keilly, swag bag connoisseur, with celebrities
See Gallery
Gavin Keilly, swag bag connoisseur, with celebrities
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actor David Schwimmer and Gavin Keilly attend PILOT PEN & GBK's Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge - Day 2 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 17, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Gavin Keilly and actor Anthony Anderson attend PILOT PEN & GBK's Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge - Day 2 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 17, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 17: Actress Maisie Williams and Gavin Keilly attend PILOT PEN & GBK's Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge - Day 2 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 17, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: (L-R) Gavin Keilly, actors Yara Shahidi and Marsai Martin attend PILOT PEN & GBK's Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge - Day 1 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 16, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jane Lynch and Gavin Keilly attend PILOT PEN & GBK's Pre-Emmy Luxury Lounge - Day 1 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 16, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 12: Founder and CEO of GBK Gavin B. Keilly and Odell Beckham Jr. attend Cooper & GBK's 2016 Pre-ESPY Celebrity Lounge & Poker Tournament at The Line Hotel on July 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for GBK Productions )
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 14: Singer Aaron Carter and CEO/Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attend the GBK Pre Grammy Lounge at Tom's Urban at L.A. Live on February 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 09: (L-R) Gavin Keilly, Morgan Keilly and Viola Davis attend GBK & Pilot Pen Golden Globes 2016 Luxury Lounge - Day 2 at W Hollywood on January 9, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 08: GBK Productions founder Gavin Keilly and actress Gina Rodriguez arrive at the GBK & Pilot Pen Golden Globes 2016 Luxury Lounge - Day 1 at W Hollywood on January 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Gavin Keilly and Beau Bridges at GBK Pre-EMMYS gift lounge day 2 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on September 19, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 18: Gavin Keilly and Breeda Wool attend the GBK Pre-EMMYS Gift Lounge on September 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amy Graves/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: GBK founder and CEO Gavin Keilly and Raquel Castro is seen at GBK's New York Fashion Week Style Lounge 2015 - Day 2 on September 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: GBK founder and CEO Gavin Keilly and Alan Cumming are seen at GBK's New York Fashion Week Style Lounge 2015 - Day 2 on September 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by John Parra/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 22: Actress Angela Bassett (R) and GBK CEO Gavin Keilly attend the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge honoring the best in TV held at LErmitage on August 22, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for GBK Productions)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 13: Tv host Madison Hildebrand and CEO and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin B. Keilly attend the Lambda Legal 2014 West Coast Liberty Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 13, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Tennis player Serena Williams (L) and founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attends DirecTV Beach Bowl 2014 at the Gansevoort Hotel on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for DirecTV)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01: Actress Nina Dobrev (L) and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attend DirecTV Beach Bowl 2014 at the Gansevoort Hotel on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for DirecTV)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 10: Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and actress Sally Hawkins attends the GBK & Pilot Pen Pre-Golden Globe Gift Lounge on January 10, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and actor Neil Patrick Harris attends the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge during Emmy's Weekend on September 21, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Actor Ed O'Neill and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attend the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge during Emmy's Weekend on September 20, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 20: Tv Personality Camille Grammer and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attend the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge during Emmy's Weekend on September 20, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: (L-R) Actor Ice-T, television personality Coco Austin and CEO of GBK Gavin Keilly pose at the GBK & Sparkling Resort Fashionable Lounge during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week on September 6, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for GBK Productions & Sparkling Resort Luxury Style Lounge)
SANTA MONICA, CA - MAY 21: Founder of GBK productions Gavin B. Keilly and Sugar Ray Leonard attend B. Riley & Co. & The Sugar Ray Leonard Foundation Present The 4th Annual 'Big Fighters, Big Cause' Charity Fight Night To Benefit Juvenile Diabetes at Santa Monica Pier on May 21, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13: Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and actor Ray Liotta GBK Gift Lounge In Honor Of The MTV Movie Award Nominees And Presenters - Day 2 at W Hollywood on April 13, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 17: CEO and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and Actor David Hasselhoff attend the Sparkling Hill Resort & GBK Productions Luxury Retreat During The Cannes Film Festival on May 17, 2013 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 13: Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and actress Quvenzhane Wallis at GBK Gift Lounge In Honor Of The MTV Movie Award Nominees And Presenters - Day 2 at W Hollywood on April 13, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02: Maria Menounos (L) and Gavin Keilly attend GBK and DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl Thank You Lounge at DTV SuperFan Stadium at Mardi Gras World on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images For DirecTV)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 02: Actor Anthony Anderson (L) and Gavin Keilly attend GBK and DirecTV Celebrity Beach Bowl Thank You Lounge at DTV SuperFan Stadium at Mardi Gras World on February 2, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images For DirecTV)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Lori Greiner and Gavin Keilly attend GBK's Luxury Lounge During Golden Globe Weekend Day 1 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on January 11, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 11: Gavin Keilly and Jeff Daniels attend GBK's Luxury Lounge During Golden Globe Weekend Day 1 at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on January 11, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Amy Graves/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and Bruno Tonioli attends the GBK Productions Luxury Lounge During Emmy's Weekend at W Hollywood on September 21, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
TOLUCA LAKE, CA - MAY 07: Actor George Lopez, CEO & Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and Actor Anthony Anderson attend GBK's Gift Lounge At George Lopez Celebrity Golf Classic at Lakeside Country Club on May 7, 2012 in Toluca Lake, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 14: CEO & Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and actor Eric Stonestreet attend GBK's Golden Globes Gift Lounge at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel on January 14, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Jesse Tyler Furguson and Gavin B. Keilly of GBK Productions attend the GBK And Tic Tac Gift Lounge In Honor Of The 2011 Emmy Nominees And Presenters - Day 1 at W Hollywood on September 16, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Gavin B. Keilly of GBK Productions and Mayim Bialik attend the GBK And Tic Tac Gift Lounge In Honor Of The 2011 Emmy Nominees And Presenters - Day 1 at W Hollywood on September 16, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - AUGUST 10: Actress Holly Robinson Pete and Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attends the Official Launch of VINCI at Fred Segal on August 10, 2011 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
Flava Flav and CEO of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attends the GBK Gift Lounge In Honor Of The MTV Movie Awards at SLS Hotel on June 3, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
Actress Joanna 'JoJo' LeVesque and Founder & CEO of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attends the GBK Kid's Choice Awards 2011 Gift Lounge at the SLS Hotel on March 31, 2011 in Beverly Hills, California.
Recording artist Chaka Khan and Founder and CEO of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly attends GBK's Gift Lounge At George Lopez Celebrity Lopez Golf Classic at Riviera Country Club on May 2, 2011 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
Founder of GBK Productions Gavin Keilly and Tony Shalhoub attends Day 2 of the GBK Oscar Globes Gift Lounge at W Hollywood on February 26, 2011 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tiffany Rose/WireImage)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

On how celebrities get invited to gift lounges:

We have three criteria [for deciding which celebrities get invited]: The first criteria is if they're nominated or presenting, they automatically get accepted. Our second criteria is if a celebrity is on one of the shows that's nominated and has a recognizable name. And the third criteria has a lot to do with social media and the amount of followers they have. We want someone who has a lot of followers, but at the same time they have to have a good reputation, because they'll be representing the brands, too! But just because someone has a lot of followers doesn't mean they're going to be accepted to the event.

Believe it or not, but we do actually turn down about 400 to 500 celebrities that want to come to our gift lounges, and that's really because either they're not associated with the event or, more importantly, we're only allowed to have 80 - 90 celebrities at a particular event. Brands will only bring that amount of product, so we have to be very exclusive in regards to who we allow.

On the charitable component of gift lounges:

A lot of companies will incorporate a charitable component, too. For every event Pilot Pen does with us, for example, they do a social media campaign where they have the celebrities that come to their booth tweet about their charity of choice. And [the celebrity that] targets the most people, they'll make a $5,000 donation to their charity.

Also, for every event that we do -- ever since the beginning -- we've given back 20% to charity. In addition to that, we'll have 3 to 4 charities that are on site at the event. We've found this to be really beneficial, because it allows the organizations to educate celebrities about their causes in the hopes of getting them involved. Very often many of these causes will build their honorary board this way and get talent to come out and support their events later on.

More from AOL.com:
Ja Rule explains why he's ready to move on from music after his next album
Anthony Anderson talks about how Julia Child inspired his love for cooking
Kristin Cavallari reveals which former 'Laguna Beach' and 'The Hills' co-stars she would let babysit her kids

Read Full Story

From Our Partners