This Sunday (Jan. 13) Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards on NBC, and while millions of Americans will tune in to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars, those with a head for business may want to keep their eyes on the prize.
Each prize is a 24-karat-gold-plated statuette atop a marble pedestal, and since 2009, the production of this iconic trophy has been the business of Society Awards, a New York-based design and manufacturing company catering to the awards industry.
David Moritz, CEO of Society Awards, founded the company in 2007 and has since become something of a trophy tycoon, manufacturing prizes for the American Music Awards, MTV Movie and Video Music Awards, the Sundance Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards, among many others. His company also makes the awards for some of reality television’s most famous competitions, such as “America’s Best Dance Crew,” and “Dancing With the Stars.”
Despite his busy pre-award-season schedule, Moritz took some time to talk with BusinessNewsDaily about his role in creating one of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards and how a one-time entertainment lawyer found his niche in an antiquated industry in need of an upgrade.
Gold-plated face lift
Before Society Awards took over production of the Golden Globe statues, how they were manufactured, stored, and delivered was less than ideal, Moritz recalled.
“Prestigious awards would come in bubble wrap, arrive broken, late. It was a huge hassle for people and companies,” he said.
Moritz said it took some doing to persuade the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the awards show, to put its trust in his young company. But after many months of unrelenting salesmanship, the association agreed to give Society Awards a shot.
“I promised them that I would always personally take care of their every need and always think of new ways to make things better, and I work hard every year coming through on that promise for them,” Moritz said.
The first thing Moritz did was to provide the statuette with a much-needed face lift. The design of the globe, which features the earth encircled by a film strip atop a marble pedestal, didn’t change, but the process of making the statue underwent serious improvement. The award is now more lustrous and as durable as a car engine part.
Moritz, who is involved in every aspect of his company’s design and manufacturing process, explained the finer points of making a Golden Globe. The core of the globe is die-cast zinc. The zinc is injected under heat and pressure into a tool steel mold. The globe gets its gold sheen once a 24-karat electroplating is applied over the core. The globe is then hand-polished and lacquered and placed atop a base. The base, made of muted brown marble, comes from Eastern Europe.
Moritz said that before Society Awards came along, no one in the industry would have gone to so much trouble to produce so few statues. But one of the secrets to Moritz’s success seems to be his willingness to go out of his way to make clients happy.
'Luxury brand’ of trophies
Moritz has a grand vision for his company, and this is reflected in all of his business decisions, from the industrial production of every award to the immaculate interior of his offices.
Committed to excellent service, Moritz said he considers himself and his employees to be the awards' “custodians,” responsible not only for manufacturing each award but for personalizing it and storing it until the ceremony.
Society Awards also works with its clients on marketing initiatives, collaborations with product designers, and ideas for new projects. While all these extra services clearly represent an effort to create the best possible relationship with clients, they also do a lot to further Society Awards' image as a luxury brand.
“I aspire to be a luxury partner along with our clients so that they can be very proud of the products that they give to the celebrities,” Moritz said.
Nervous at the awards
Clients return his company’s many favors with some of their own. One of the perks of being the custodian of the Golden Globes is that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association extends an invitation to Moritz to attend the ceremony every year.
“When I first started going, I was a little bit nervous and really on my best behavior,” Moritz said. “In 2013 I’m going to let loose a lot more and be myself.”
Though Moritz isn’t the type to go around asking for autographs, he does mention that some of the celebrities who have won several of the awards do like to chat about their trophies.
“Winning the statue symbolizes admission into a select group, gaining recognition for being at the top of one’s craft, for world-class performance and achievement,” Moritz said.
Moritz, too, has reason to be proud. This efforts of this entertainment lawyer-turned-entrepreneur to provide the best products and services to his clients have not gone unnoticed.
Since Moritz landed the Golden Globe account in 2009, nearly every major awards organization in the U.S. has come to Society Awards looking for a more glamorous approach to manufacturing their prized trophies, he says.
And Moritz is far from finished in building an empire. In addition to Society Awards, he is the owner of two other companies, Mode Design Group and Ambition Beverages, which offer an array of luxury goods and services. Moritz says that he’s also working on opening several other design-based companies in the health food and home decor industries in the near future.