DPA gifts TIFF goers

As TIFF anticipation heats up, MiC speaks with the founder of DPA Gift Lounges to find out which brands made the cut. Plus, check out who's new to the TIFF sponsorship party this year.

Gift lounges are nothing new on the festival circuit, but for Canadian brands, the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) offers an unprecedented opportunity to promote their wares to some of the biggest celebs in the world.

This year, the DPA Gift Lounge, the unofficial but much-buzzed-about gifting suite during the festival, will feature a Canadiana-heavy lineup of brands, which is unique in the lounge’s history in Toronto, DPA founder Nathalie Dubois-Sissoko tells MiC.

‘This year we thought it would be nice to have something exotic for the guests so we sought out a lot of Canadiana brands,’ she explains. Representative of provinces coast-to-coast, the lounge will feature about 10 Canadian brands, chosen for the greatest likelihood of celebrity’s personal use, Dubois-Sissoko says. ‘We have a good reputation in LA for finding products that they’re not going to give to their entourage,’ she notes.

Participating brands pay a sponsorship fee to DPA Lounges; rates are dependent on degree of presence and access to celebrites. Dubois says directors, actors and producers from the biggest buzz films of the festival are invited, and she estimates about 200 people will pass through the DPA Gift Lounge’s doors. The right product seen on the right celebrity on a TIFF red carpet can generate huge sales, she says.

Canadian brands included in this year’s lounge include Turbine clothing and Michique handbags, both from Nova Scotia, Micalla jewellery of Montreal, and Sodalicious clothing and Imperfect Indulgence leather goods from Toronto. American channel AMC will also be promoting its new show, Rubicon, through the Lounge with a gift set of DVDs and promotional materials.

The whole thing is hosted by the InterContinental Toronto Centre (ICTC) hotel, which turns a presidential suite into a glitzy OOH space for the brands involved. Each brand has its own promotional area and representatives available to explain their products to gift-lounge goers. Some brands have a simple table and marketing collateral, while others go all-out, such as the spa brand that recreated a mini-spa in the lounge two years ago.

The DPA Gift Lounge is a key part of InterContinental’s strategy for TIFF, Yola Marshall, ICTC director of sales & marketing, tells MiC. ’Hosting the DPA Gift Lounge closely identifies with who we are as a hotel and brand,’ she says, adding that the hotel will promote its hosting of the Gift Lounge in marketing campaigns leading up to the event.

In other TIFF news, the festival announced last week that it has named nine new sponsors to its roster this year, including Blockbuster Canada, Diet Coke, Energizer Canada, Panasonic Canada, the Toronto Star, Guess, Champagne Perrier-Jouet, Cinema Tower condos and the California Strawberry Commission.