BOSTON: Gillette and convention organizers are denying rumors that all of the razors Gillette placed in the gift bags handed out to Democratic National Convention attendees were confiscated by convention security in an ill-advised product placement move.
Eric Kraus, Gillette VP of corporate communications, called the blog rumors "an urban myth."
Washington Monthly's blog Political Animal wrote that Gillette, "reportedly spent over a million dollars on the product placement, only to have: a) their products unused as all of the razors were confiscated when convention-goers attempted to pass through security; and b) their name taken in vain repeatedly because the already-long security lines became even more backed-up due to the razor snafu." This post has subsequently been linked to by a number of other bloggers.
Kraus said that the gift bags were dropped off at hotels to avoid such a problem, and that the security delays only affected delegates who brought all of the contents to the events.
Furthermore, he said that "it wasn't [just] Gillette razors being confiscated; it was things that could be thrown or not used for its intended use," Kraus said.
Gillette acted accordingly, he said, because the DNC approved the contents of the bag. He added, "Especially given the fact that they weren't distributed at the Fleet Center."
Karen Grant, communications director for Boston 2004, said the rumors probably started from a misunderstanding and were overblown.
Boston 2004, the organization that handed out the bags, gave most of the members of the media their bags at a party on Saturday and placed the rest in the delegate's hotels on Sunday.
Grant said that about 350 of the 30,000 razors put into bags were confiscated. In those circumstances, she said, the complete bag was given to coat checks for the individuals to pick up after the event.
"Our hope was that people would use the tote bags, but not bring them completely filled," Grant said.
Regarding the $1 million product placement claim, Gillette donated $1 million to the DNC for infrastructure improvements, Kraus said.
"Our involvement with the DNC is based on the fact that Gillette has been headquartered in this area for 100 years," Kraus said. "It's good corporate citizenship, not marketing."
He added the donation was apolitical.
"If the RNC was here, we'd consider doing the same thing."