Imagine hiring a celebrity endorser for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. On the video-sharing platform Cameo, you can choose from over 35,000 possibilities. Founded in 2016, Cameo more than quadrupled revenues in 2020 to $100 million, and doubled them again last year, on the way to becoming a billion-dollar brand.
Celebrities love Cameo because they keep about three-quarters of the gross, providing a quick, safe, easy way to earn a living and stay connected with fans during the pandemic. Consumers love it because personalized videos are the new digital autograph. And brands increasingly love Cameo because it cuts through the cluttered digital environment and serves engaging, relevant ads at a time when the cookie is crumbling.
After becoming a household name with its direct-to-fan business, Cameo is increasingly known for facilitating clever B2C campaigns. Infiniti launched its 2022 QX60 reservation program with a campaign where consumers could submit product, pricing and delivery questions to be answered by celebrities including Olympics gymnast Gabby Douglas and actor Dulé Hill. Infiniti archived the video content and plans to roll out an FAQ addressing up to 100 different topics.
Since it was so hard finding a Santa due to COVID, Coke invited North American consumers to request “Cameos from Santa.” Participants made their requests on a Coke microsite, and then random winners received a message from Santa in English, Spanish or French, sharable on social media. Coke and Cameo also hosted a live virtual event where Santa introduced Coke’s “Real Magic” short film, with special appearances from other celebrity guests.
To launch its Zero Sugar product during the holiday season, Reddi-Wip asked consumers to follow and tag the brand on Instagram, answering the question “How do you Reddi-Wip?” with a picture of a favorite treat with Reddi-Wip topping, for a chance to win a private Cameo Call from comedian Cedric the Entertainer or TV personalities Carson Kressley and Carrie Ann Inaba.
How can your brand harness the power of Cameo?
*Choose celebrities carefully. As with all celebrity endorsers, it’s critical to pick talent that aligns with your brand, speaks to its key demographics, knows something about your category, and is both trustworthy and fun. Some of Cameo’s top-grossing celebrities have rather, er, “controversial” histories, including "Tiger King" Carole Baskin and comedian Gilbert Gottfried. Others, meanwhile, are best known for risqué humor, or playing provocative characters, such as Kate Flannery, David Koechner and Snoop Dogg. So, take care with vetting to ensure your Cameo superstar won’t create major blowback for your brand.
*Create a two-way dialogue. It’s not just about getting celebrities to produce content; it’s also about getting consumers to participate, and facilitating a dialogue between the two. The genius of the Infiniti campaign is that it got consumers to ask questions about their new car in hopes of getting a favorite celebrity to answer. So, orchestrate creative ways to get consumers talking about your product, and celebrities to respond.
*Keep it light, but PG. There are better online forums than Cameo for having serious conversations about societal issues, and demonstrating your brand’s commitment to addressing them. And at the other extreme, platforms like OnlyFans and Patreon are better forums for providing totally unfiltered and uncensored access to stars.
Cameo is a fun, light-hearted platform that’s more about connecting on a personal level, and having a conversation appropriate for a corporate event or autograph signing. So, maintain that tone in your campaign: not too heavy, not too deep, just fans enjoying some small talk with favorite celebs.
To forge a new connection with consumers, ask one of the 35,000 celebrities on Cameo to make an introduction.