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Published: Tuesday, 2/6/2007

Toledo firm to toot its horn to Grammy VIPs

Sara Spallino, co-owner of the Beauty Bar, arranged to have her lotions included in Grammy Awards gift bags. Sara Spallino, co-owner of the Beauty Bar, arranged to have her lotions included in Grammy Awards gift bags.

If your aim is to build a national brand, getting your product into - and onto - the hands of celebrity musicians can't hurt.

That belief motivated Toledo salon owner Sara Spallino to arrange to have her line of body lotions included in gift bags that will be passed out to 145 celebrity performers and presenters at the 49th Grammy Awards ceremony Sunday in Los Angeles.

"We're hoping to get some national recognition," said Ms. Spallino, owner of the Beauty Bar, 2919 West Central Ave.

"We hope to get more exposure for our Web site, which will sell the products online. And a celebrity endorsement would be wonderful."

She won't say how much she and husband and salon co-owner, Joe Spallino, are paying for the placement.

But she's optimistic about the results.

Promotional giveaways are a staple of Hollywood events like the Grammys, where "gift bags" will include coupons for free stays at resorts, a concert, crystal-encrusted sandals, and a portable satellite radio and MP3 player.

This year's ceremony have a gift lounge, where celebrity participants will be allowed to shop for free.

The gift bags will be handed out at rehearsals for the awards ceremony. The event is to be broadcast live on CBS.

Among the scheduled performers are Justin Timberlake and the band the Police, which is reuniting for the occasion. A spokesman for the Grammys' sponsor, the Recording Academy, Santa Monica, Calif., couldn't be reached for comment.

The Grammy push coincides with the Spallinos' attempts to build on early local success of their body lotions. Limoncello, Peppermint Patty, and Lavender

Lace are among the fragrances. The products were introduced six months ago and were produced in-house until recently, when Beauty Bar owners found a supplier to make them.

In addition to launching Internet sales in the next couple of weeks, Ms. Spallino, 32, is optimistic about attempts to get the Home Shopping Network to begin selling the lotions that retail locally for $18 for an 8-ounce container.

Such exposure can be valuable to a start-up company, said Steve Stein, of Hollywood Connection, Los Angeles. His firm assembles gift bags and arranges other product placements, although he isn't involved with the Grammy show.

"Any kind of celebrity association is great," he said. Pictures of celebrities with products passed out as part of such promotions have ended up in top magazines, spurring sales, he said.

Typically, event sponsors hire outside marketing agencies to assemble gift bags. Placement fees depend on the value of items being given away. Makers of products like those of the Toledo firm probably would pay $500 to $1,000, he said.

Contact Gary T. Pakulski at:


or 419-724-6082.

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