What the Tech? Celebrity shout-outs on your special day
Your anniversary is coming up and you don't know what to get your spouse. If you're always looking to surprise them with an out-of-this-world gift, this year it might be a text message.
Cameo is an app and video sharing platform that allows anyone to 'hire' a celebrity to record a personalized video message. Developed a couple of years ago by four friends at Duke University, Cameo is fueled by our desire to be close to celebrities and our obsession with selfies.
"When you were younger you might run up to your fravorite player and ask them to sign whatever was in front of you," explains Cameo COO Arthur Leopold. "We had this idea that the selfie was the next autograph."
Browsing the roster of talent on the Cameo website and app you'll find Hollywood actors such as Ernie Hudson, Gary Busey, Ruth Buzzy, cast members of "This is Us" and about 4 actors from "The Office.” Broadway stars, rock stars, country music stars, YouTube stars, Reality TV stars and famous celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, Stormy Daniels and the pug known as "Puggy Smalls.” Athletes such as Ozzy Guillen and former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre are there too.
"We have talent now doing 3, 4, 5,000 cameos over the past few months," said Leopold.
Rapper Flavor Flav wishes people happy birthday and Favre recorded several messages wishing dads a happy father's day.
Motley Crue's Tommy Lee recorded a message welcoming home someone from the hospital, telling them he was asked to create the message by some of her best friends who wanted to cheer her up.
Messages can be as personal as the person requesting the video.
Leopold said he receives messages from happy customers every day. "If they're able to post on Instagram or Facebook that Mr Wonderful ("Shark Tank") or Brett Favre or Snoop Dog is wishing them happy birthday or wishing them luck on their first big game, that's incredible. There's nothing else like that out there."
There are some 15,000 celebrities who will record a personalized message in the Cameo app. Here's how it works:
Search for the celebrity you'd like to have record the video. You can search by name, TV show, movie, band or what area of field of entertainment they work. Submit a request by stating who the video is for, why, how to pronounce their name and any other specifics.
The celebrity will receive a request and has a few days to respond. If they accept the request, the celebrity will record the video message on their phone and Cameo will send it as a text message and email.
"It's so easy for them. They can do cameos sitting in an uber or laying in bed. We've had celebrities do cameos in the locker room," said Leopold.
Celebrities set their own price. Some as little as a few bucks and others, like Ice T, will record a message for $350. Caitlyn Jenner is currently the highest priced Cameo at $2,500. The video text messages can of course be saved, and shared on social media.
Celebrities keep 75% of their cameo fee; the company gets the rest.
Leopold said the company is currently signing up over 2,000 celebrities each month.