It’s never been easier to keep up with a celebrity’s day-to-day life on social media. Likewise, it’s never been easier for a celebrity to send you a 90-second customized video message to wish your friend a happy birthday or initiate a breakup.
That’s the appeal of Cameo, a service that allows you, the consumer, to hire the marginally famous as a singing, talking, or performing telegram. This is a strange dynamic that got a bit stranger during the pandemic, when even more celebrities who seemed too famous to be this widely available flocked to the service – either to make up for lost income or pass the time.
More than four years after its official launch, Cameo remains an incredibly niche interest. Nearly 93% of Americans either haven’t heard of Cameo, or aren’t interested in using the service. That said, there’s promising room for growth. According to a recent CivicScience survey, a slim percentage of the public have already used Cameo and would do it again, but more than twice as many people haven’t used it and would like to.
As with any relatively nascent social media platform, its use is largely driven by younger consumers. But perhaps surprisingly, the youngest age bracket is also the most likely to not have heard of Cameo. The strongest potential for growth comes from the 25 to 34 age bracket, of which those who haven’t used it but would like to outpace the Gen Pop.
A Replacement for Meet-and-Greets?
Since Cameo is not just a hub for B- and C-list celebrities, but also impersonators for A-list celebrities, the service became something of a lifeline for entertainers who relied on in-person work during the pandemic. This could amount to anything from live performances to private engagements, including the closest in-person analog for Cameo – meet-and-greet events. These, too, are a fairly niche interest, with just 27% of the population expressing future-facing interest in attending one. Given the heightened appeal of actually being in the same room as a celebrity, it’s easy to understand why this might poll higher than intention to purchase a Cameo video.
But like everything else right now, the pandemic is still a factor, and it’s hard to parse its current impact on meet-and-greet events. People who have been meet-and-greeters in the past and would like to do it again are about as comfortable with being in public spaces as those with no interest. But prospective new meet-and-greeters are a little more tentative about returning to public places.
A gradual return to live music events, large-scale conventions, wine store promotions, and the like are probably the best-case scenario for a service like Cameo, if bittersweet for fans of those events. And yet, when you remove Cameo’s name from the equation, and simply survey interest in using a service that allows you to buy or receive personal messages from celebrities, interest balloons a significant amount compared to the Cameo-specific figures.
This is either encouraging news for Cameo, which still has untapped potential when it comes to new users, or more encouraging news for other competitors to enter the field with a similar service. Even after the pandemic left some pundits wondering if celebrities’ importance was receding in the public eye, it’s clear that there’s still a sizable chunk of the population willing to shell out for a custom experience with the moderately famous.