It doesn’t get more epic than a RuPaul’s Drag Queen wishing you a ‘dirty thirtieth birthday’ or an NBA player dishing out marriage advice at your brother’s bachelor party. The good people at Cameo, the built-in-Chicago talent marketplace, concur. This is why they seek to facilitate the ultimate fan experience, by making it possible to purchase personalized celebrity video messages.
Though Chicago’s tech start-up scene is rather B2B focused, Chicago Ventures (one of the investors in the platform) believes that Cameo has the potential to be the Windy City’s uniquely B2C startup success. In recognition of the same, Cameo was recently nominated for Chicago Inno’s 2018 Coolest Companies.
Zero Degrees of Separation
Co-founder, Steven Galanis, recognizes that we all aspire to hobnob with the stars and also that we live in an era of ‘if it’s not on Instagram, it didn’t happen’. Here, the key customer insight that the app’s value proposition is built on is exhibitionism & every individual’s desire to eliminate the six degrees of separation from their favorite stars. Simply put, Cameo helps the average Joe achieve contact with celebrities, which can then be splashed on social media as proof.
Athletes, celebrities, reality TV icons and social media influencers; make the bulk of the 1,400 stars on its roster. Since Feb 2017, over 26,000 celebrity videos have been created. Of these, the stars who have received the most bookings are musician Nick Colletti, YouTube comedian Evan Breen and star of the “The Real Housewives of New York City”, Sonja Morgan.
By linking fans to their idols, Cameo videos have also become real tools of inspiration for many. One of the satisfied Cameo customers even reviewed ESPN’s TV & Radio Host, David Kaplan, with the following comment, “Thanks Kappy! My buddy loved it, got him to laugh and it(sic) sure motivated him for his rehab.” This feedback is indicative of Cameo’s ability to get celebs to channel their star power on-demand to generate a feel-good moment.
The best part is that the celebrity video platform is intuitive and really simple to use.
Celebrity Video Bookings, As Simple as 1,2,3
Say, you want the backpack kid to bust out some sick moves, as a graduation present for your kid. Here is how you can do so with Cameo:
Step 1: Find the celeb’s page on Cameo (in this case: Backpack Kid), which also features their reviews, recent cameo videos, and set rates.
Step 2: Fill in the form with the name of the person the video is dedicated to, and directives of what you would want to be said in the video. The request can be as creative and should be as specific, as possible.
Step 3: Submit the form and wait. Cameo promises to have the celebrity video dedication delivered within 7 days.
If the request is at all inappropriate or declined by the celebrity, the order will be cancelled and money returned.
The rates range from $5 to $2500. You could gift an NFL fan, a video by Terrell Owens, for $350; or commission a Disney star for just $39. But the memories that it will create will be priceless.
In case your favorite starlet is not on the list, all you need to do is ask. The Cameo team will reach out to the almost-star to see if they are interested in joining the database of talent. That’s it, it’s that simple.
What’s in it for the Celebs
This does not mean that the likes of Brad Pitt or Beyonce will be sitting around making videos for all their fans. “Our goal is really to help the 99 percent of talent monetize,” Galanis told the Chicago Tribune. With refreshing honesty, Cameo accepts that they primarily work with smaller celebrities (who are sizeable in number). The platform helps the mini celebs monetize their stardom while also forming a more personal bond with their fans.
A basic requirement of 20,000 Instagram followers is all one needs to get accepted onto the celebrity video platform.
Celebrities who wish to be part of this service can set their own price. What is interesting is that Cameo encourages them to figure out the true worth of their time by calculating their ‘earnings per minute’. This number can be achieved by taking a star’s annual income and dividing it by the number of minutes worked in a year. The calculation makes it easy for celebs to quantify the value of their time invested into making videos for fans.
On top of this, those wishing to pocket the extra buck can recruit other famous people to the platform to cash in on Cameo’s referral program.
Cameo of the Future
Cameo takes a 25 percent cut from the stars for each booking they complete. This means that the start-up has a built-in revenue stream for sustainable operations, with no need to focus efforts on earning from advertising on the platform.
The company plans to someday add new products such as live (video) fan interactions with the stars. They also hope to digitize interactions with a larger pool of talent, from everyday life. This could include your favorite football coach from high school, a religious leader from your state, and other such motivating personalities.