Dear Preston: Should celebs get freebies?


Dear Preston:

I am a cake maker who has had my work showcased on television and in numerous magazines. I have worked very hard to build a respectable brand and have been told that my cakes are both unique and tasty. I was recently contacted by the publicist of a well-known celebrity who had seen my cakes and loved the designs. At first, I was very excited to receive this call, but my joy turned to shock when I was asked to provide a birthday cake for the celebrity in question for free.  Do you think I should ask to be paid?

Cheap Celebrity

Dear CC:

This really depends on what you are going to get out of it. Of course, I am talking about publicity. If the celebrity in question is going to give you credit, I say do it. It has been my experience that you cannot buy this kind of publicity. Make the cake and consider it an investment in your future. If the cake appears in the right magazines, giving you proper credit, I am sure you will make your money back in no time.

That said, I have two bits of advice for you:

I would question the publicist. It might have been their choice to ask you to donate the cake, and not the celebrity who asked for this.   Most of the celebrities that I have worked with, are very uncomfortable getting freebies.

I agree with you that we send the wrong message to celebrities that we are willing to give them everything for free, so if you are uncomfortable, you might suggest offering them a “friends and family” discount.

Either way, be sure to have a written agreement (at least in email) that says you will get on-page credit if images of the cake are published.


These kinds of requests do not happen often.

Should CC do the cake for free?  If you were in her position, what would you do?

I am interested in hearing your thoughts.