PR PLAY OF THE WEEK: Press drools over movie star's rock

NEW YORK: The Oscars have become the Super Bowl of the PR world and

taking this year's trophy is jeweler H. Stern.

The firm, considerably less well-known in celebrity circles than rivals

such as Harry Winston and Van Cleef & Arpels, pulled the stops out this

year and its efforts resulted in name checks just about everywhere. The

catalyst? Traffic star and Hollywood's newest darling Catherine

Zeta-Jones who donned a dollars 170,000, 50-carat necklace and matching

earrings for her high-profile presence at the Academy Awards.

While this particular placement came as a result of a personal

relationship between Andrea Hansen, H. Stern's VP marketing, and an

unidentified friend of Zeta-Jones', other placements were secured via

two other agencies: Beyond PR and Paul Wilmot Communications. The two

firms persuaded stylists and personal publicists - who are increasingly

choosing their clients' outfits - to stop by at the H. Stern suite at

L'Hermitage three weeks before the event.

Among outlets publishing Zeta-Jones' picturesque decolletage were

Entertainment Weekly, the New York Post and TV shows including

Entertainment Tonight.

Hansen said that although the firm had been to the Oscars twice before,

it gained substantially increased name recognition this year.

'Catherine's presence there was priceless,' she sighed.

Other stars dripping in H. Stern this year were The West Wing's press

secretary Allison Janney and Scream's Neve Campbell.

Sean Young, whose credits include Dying Young, appeared on Politically

Incorrect with Bill Maher in the firm's 'Greta' collection and attended

after parties in the 'Ritzy' jewelry. Which all goes to show that Joan

Rivers' question, 'Who are you wearing?' isn't so silly after all.

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