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Published: Wednesday, 3/13/2002

La-Z-Boy to have supporting role in Oscar-presentation gift basket

MONROE - They may not all take home an Oscar, but the winners, nominees, and presenters at this month's 74th Academy Awards ceremony will all take home a La-Z-Boy.

A certificate redeemable for one of four styles of the world-famous recliner chair is being included in the gift basket traditionally given to the celebrities and producers who make up the Oscar presentation.

The gifts for the show, to be broadcast March 24, are worth several thousand dollars and have included items such as digital camera, cosmetics, watches, and certificates to a spa.

This year is the first that a La-Z-Boy was included.

The company is delighted, said Kurt Darrow, president of La-Z-Boy's residential division, which includes recliners.

“We are certain that the celebrities receiving these La-Z-Boy chairs will be satisfied with our new look of style and world-famous comfort.”

Marsha Levine, founder of A-List Entertainment, of Beverly Hills, Ca., a firm specializing in the placement of products in movies and TV shows, said what La-Z-Boy will get out of being included in the Oscar gift basket probably is minimal, but it doesn't hurt.

‘‘Any exposure that you have to the Hollywood community is good,” she said.

‘‘If they're going to use product placement in a film, it doesn't hurt if they're familiar with you.

“In that sense, it's a very good way to get exposure to the people making the future decisions on product placement.''

But Eric Dahlquist, president of the Entertainment Resources & Marketing Association, an organization for product placement professionals, said whatever boost La-Z-Boy gets from being in the Oscars gift basket will be useless if the company doesn't follow up with some sort of advertising so that people know the chair was part of the gift basket to the stars.

The celebrities who get the gifts are unlikely to readily acknowledge the gifts, even if they spend their evenings lounging about in their recliners, said Mr. Dahlquist, founder of the Vista Group, of Burbank, Calif., one of the largest and oldest product placement firms in the country.

But some promotion is possible if the Michigan furniture firm is willing to pay for it.

He doubted the chair would get used in upcoming movies just because of it was in the gift bag, but said its inclusion should generate good will and possible future opportunities.

‘‘I'm sure these folks will enjoy their chairs. Whether they endorse them, though, is another matter altogether,'' he said.



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