Corporate events are great opportunities to impress clients, co-workers, and employees. And what is more impressive than introducing them to a celebrity?
Yes, celebrities may seem out of reach. Why would they need to slum it with Janet from Accounting at your work party? But the truth is, it might be easier than you think to get a celebrity at your corporate event. Here’s how to do it.
Find a celebrity corporate event or hospitality package
The most straightforward way to get a celebrity at your corporate event is to book a hospitality package that already guarantees a celebrity appearance.
Many corporate events packages of this kind can be found. Smart Group’s rugby hospitality at Twickenham, for example, boasts the presence of former England team captain Martin Johnson every time, while Liverpool FC’s executive matchday hospitality package guarantees a slightly more vague “former player” will be in attendance.
Away from the sporting side of things, VIP packages to the latest concerts and festivals will often include chances to meet celebrities at backstage parties. Live Nation’s VIP section currently has the chance to meet Phil Collins, Alfie Boe & Michael Ball or Ariana Grande in person as part of packages which include after parties and concerts, perfect for corporate events.
Book a celebrity directly
If you want more control over your event, a pre-planned package might not be for you. But that doesn’t mean celebrities are out of reach. As it happens, most celebrities can be hired for appearances at corporate events through their agents.
But the hiring process isn’t simple. As BBC Capital uncovered, booking celebrities to hire and perform relies on communicating through one of many booking agencies that may be representing them, and then negotiating a cost based on the performer’s popularity and general fees.
No serious booking agencies list their prices online, and celebrities don’t like to make their booking costs widely available, so you will have to get in contact with agencies directly to find out more.
More often than not, though, it seems hiring celebrities is pricey. In 2010, a survey of local councils, reported by the Telegraph, found that they had paid up to £10,000 for celebrities to turn on Christmas lights. Other prices revealed at that time revealed an average of around £6,000 for celebrities such as Brian Blessed and Barbara Windsor to host company awards shows.
These prices are only part of the picture though. As celebrity agent Mark Esterman told the BBC, event hosts are also expected to pay the “simple fours” of flights, local travel, accommodation, and meals. Depending on the tastes of the celebrity in question, this can add a lot to the total booking bill.
Clearly then, if you can afford it, and if you can negotiate the booking process, many celebrities will be willing to appear at your event.
For a lucky few, there might be a much cheaper way to secure a celebrity appearance. As the old adage goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, so it might be worth scanning through your contacts to see if they happen to know any big names who’d be willing to make an appearance at your event.
Is it worth it?
So it is possible to get a celebrity at your corporate event through one of these two avenues, but will it really make a difference? The local councils whose celebrity spending was criticised insist it does.
PR expert Mark Borkowski agreed, in the same Telegraph article, saying: “Surprisingly, there is often still something in it for councils to hire these people.”
Entire books have been written on whether celebrity endorsement adds value for brands, and by implication whether they will benefit your corporate event, so the best approach is to take it on a case by case basis. Will the attendees at your event be thrilled by a celebrity guest? If the answer is yes, you better get booking.