The 20-lb. swag bag from People/Time’s White House Correspondent’s party

April 26, 2013

Pictured below: a disgorged swag bag from the Time/People pre-WHCD cocktail party. It weighed in at 20.6 lbs on an Post bathroom scale (very technical stuff, here).

Whoa, isn’t the media industry struggling with hard times? Actually, gift bags aren’t really a gift from party hosts, but from the legions of eager vendors who typically donate freebies in hopes of getting attention for their products from influential VIP guests — who, at the Friday night St. Regis event included Gayle King, Gabby Douglas, Fred Armisen, Jessica Pare, Daniel Dae Kim and others celebrities. Think of it as an orgy of high-end targeted advertising.

(Like most media organizations, The Washington Post has ethics limitations on the dollar amount of gifts its staffers can accept. The company also runs an annual holiday bazaar to sell the various swag that makes its way to the newsroom — whether gift-bag trinkets or promotional items sent for review consideration — with proceeds donated to local charities.)

Among the brand names in the People/Times bag: Alba Botanica, Alex and Ani, California Baby, C Wonder, Demeter Fragrance, Eastern Collective, Edge Shave Gel, Georgetown Cupcake, GoGo squeeZ, GoMarco In., Good Karmal, Grooming Lounge, Happy Socks, Herban Essentials, illy issimo, Incase, JASON, John Masters Organics, Justin’s, KIND Healthy Snacks, Kusmi Tea, LeSportsac (the bag itself), L’Oreal Paris, MADHOUSE by Michael Aram, Manduka, Neuro Drinks, Peeled Snacks, Pirate’s Booty, Praim Gorup, Preserve Products, PRITI NYC, Purely Elizabeth, Quinn Popcorn, Red Bull, Revision Skincare, RUSK, SAMY FAT HAIR, Sara Kety Baby, Schick, Scholastic, Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, Somersault Snack Co., SpaRitual, Starbucks, Stila, Supersmile, TableTopics, Taza Chocolate, Theo Chocolate, Toyota (alas, a mug, not a car), Twistband, Urbanhalo Headbands, VEGA, Weleda.

Oh, and of course, copies of the latest People and Time magazines.

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Karen Tumulty is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where she received the 2013 Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting.
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