This is not a far-fetched idea anymore. With the Cameo app, reaching out to a celebrity is on your fingertip Imagine your favourite celeb popping up on your phone, wishing you a ‘Happy Birthday’. Or, you gifting your loved one a congratulatory video message recorded by none other than his or her favourite celebrity. Well, this can now be a reality with Cameo App. In a conversation with BT, Steven Galanis, co-founder and CEO of the app, elaborates on the concept of this app and shares with us, his plans of launching it in India. Excerpts...How did the idea of Cameo come about?
The idea stemmed from the thought that the selfie is the new autograph. Unlike earlier, when we requested celebrities for autograph on paper, today, we just click a selfie with them and cherish the moment.
My co-founder and I took the concept ahead by getting celebrities to do shout-outs for you. The first video that we tried, with a not so well-known footballer, received amazing response, and we realised that people get excited when they receive a personalised message from their favourite celebrities. Who are the celebrities currently available on the app? Also, which Indian celebrities are you reaching out to?
We began in 2017 with 300 celebrities. By 2018, we had 4,000 celebrities on our app. And today, we have over 20,000 global celebrities on the app. They include Snoop Dogg, Charlie Sheen, Caitlyn Jenner and Kevin O’Leary among others. The bank of celebrities also includes athletes, reality TV stars, comedians and musicians. Cameo has set up offices in Australia, London and Argentina, with its headquarters in Chicago (USA). We have come to India because the celebrity culture here fascinates us. You have very successful people, who have made a mark across the world. With Cameo, we’ll be getting Indian stars on board for their fans all over the world, and not just India. With this, Indian talents can build their brands and connect with their fans alike. By the time we launch in India formally, by early 2020, we hope to have a great roster of celebrities.In the current day and age, celebrities are accessible to their fans through social media, where they interact with them on micro-blogging sites, photo-sharing sites and even do live chats with them. How would Cameo stand out?
Imagine you go to a stadium to watch a big cricket game and are rooting for your favourite player. The player can hear the general noise, but cannot hear ‘you’. This is exactly the case of social media. When you are reaching out to your favourite stars by commenting on each of their posts and wait for a reply, the stars can see messages sent by millions of their fans. On Cameo, people are paying premiums to get this attention and they will get a reply straight in seven days.
What if a request goes unanswered?
This happens in special cases when a talent thinks that the content that he or she has been asked to say is inappropriate. Sometimes there are some really unreasonable requests. For example, a fan of a certain cricket team may ask a celebrity to run down the other cricket team. At such times, the talent can turn the request down. A consumer’s money gets deducted only at the time he or she receives the video from the talent. What are the kind of shout-outs that the fans ask their celebrities for?
A lot of users opt for ‘happy birthday’ wishes for their friends. The second most common thing we witness on the app is requests for ‘roasting’. Here, a user selects a comedian, and writes a few lines for him to record that aims at making fun of his friend. We also see people using Cameo to propose their partner for marriage. We also have companies in the US that offer people jobs through a talent on Cameo. Then there are employees using Cameo to quit their job (laughs!). It’s quite interesting to see how creative people can get through the app.What lies in the future for Cameo?
We are really looking forward to our expansion in India. We are also looking at exploring content in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and other Indian languages. Imagine your favourite international star doling dialogues for you in Hindi!
Apart from expanding in different countries, we are also looking at growing the verticals too. For example, in the US we started with athletes, then the actors and are now expanding to religious figures and even politicians. Steadily we are also having CEOs of companies, entrepreneurs and even journalists coming on the app as talents. They too are getting fantastic requests. It’s just the start for Cameo. Today you have a celebrity making 30 seconds video for you, tomorrow through the app you may even do a video chat with them and maybe at some point, you could have a star surprise you at your personal party.
Photo Credit: Tejas Kudtarka