Crass commercialism is a way of American life, but no where is the situation more egregious than the run-up to the Sundance Film Festival. Fortunately, during the fest, I manage to avoid the spas, celebrities, and this-or-that give-away, as I’m tucked away in dark screening rooms 16 hours of every day. But in the same spirit as last year’s Swagfest, here are a few of my favorite gross, materialistic marketing tactics that continue to chip away at the integrity of the films at the festival. Those crimes perpetrated by the Sundance Film Festival itself are marked with an asterisk. And this year, I thought, why not avoid giving them any more publicity than they richly don’t deserve. Comments in [italics] are mine.
— Hollywood’s hottest boutique, XXXXX is setting up shop at The Gibson Mountain Lodge aka The Miner’s Club. . . . Our one-stop shopping experience with all this season’s must-haves will be the ultimate celebrity hotspot. We will be featuring the newest looks from brands: XXXXX Denim, XXXXXX Handbags, XXXXX Footwear, XXXXX Men Kits [what’s a men kit?], XXXXXX Jewelry, XXXXX Skincare, XXXX Tee’s, The Latest Superhero Collection from XXXXXX as well as Men’s items from X Brand.
— This year celebrities will indulge in the most decadent lounge in Park City. Celebrities and select press will enjoy an open bar while being pampered by famed skin care specialist XXXX XXXXXXX with oxygen facials and services. Then get lavished with over $25,000 in high-end gifts from XXXXXX, XXX, XXXXX, XXXX & XXXX, XXX XXXX and much more. [Now, why, please tell me, do celebrities need $25,000 in high-end gifts? Why not give $25,000 in gifts to some of the 94,000 children living in poverty in the state of Utah?]
* XXXXXX will relaunch a new XXX® model at the 2006 Festival and will be providing XXX® shuttles, for celebrity pick-ups/drop-offs and a full fleet of other XXX vehicles for all filmmakers and Festival programmer transport.
* XXXXXX Canine Cuisine, one of Masterfoods USA’s leading brands, announces the first ever XXXX Spa at the Sundance Film Festival taking place in Utah this January. In the XXXXX Spa, small dogs and their celebrity owners will get pampered and primped for the Sundance premieres, parties and entertainment. “XXXX Canine Cuisine is dedicated to ensuring all doggie attendees at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival will get the love, attention and pampering they deserve,” says Rob Leibowitz, Marketing Director — XXX XXXX, Masterfoods USA, the makers of XXXXX Canine Cuisine. “What better way to show your love to the small dog you adore, than to treat them to a gourmet cuisine and a special day at the spa with their favorite person — you!” [My God, is this what we’ve come to as a culture?]