A Chicago startup called Cameo lets you buy personalised messages from celebrities to surprise your friends with

  • A Chicago-based startup is letting customers buy personalised messages from celebrities to share with friends for special occasions.
  • The celebrity lineup is made up of 1,400 athletes, musicians, social media influencers, and more, all of whom set their own price per message and get 75% of the cut.
  • Founder Steven Galanis wants “to help the 99 per cent of talent monetise,” and engage with their fans the way that “the Kardashians and the Drakes of the world” get to, he told the Chicago Tribune’s Stacy Swartz.

If you can’t say it with a greeting card, try saying it with an athlete.

That’s what’s being offered with Cameo, an online service that lets you purchase a personalised message from one of over a thousand athletes, comedians, and personalities to send to friends for any occasion.

It launched in March 2017 offering exclusively athletes, and has since added a variety of celebrities including social media influencers and reality stars. As of April 2018, Cameo has 1,400 famous faces on its roster who have together sent at least 26,000 messages, as founder Steven Galanis told the Chicago Tribune’s Stacy Swartz.

Cameo celebrity personalised messageScreenshot/Cameo

To share a Cameo video, users head to the Cameo website, choose a celebrity, and plug in the recipient’s name, their own email address and phone number, and some information about what the event is or what their relationship with the recipient is like.

The order can be refused if it’s inappropriate or damaging to the star’s image, but the site says there are no set rules about what you can and cannot request, and “as long as the request is appropriate,” Cameo says the celebrities will fill the order.

In addition to allowing fans the opportunity to surprise friends with a unique – at times humorous – video, Galanis wants Cameo to let the smaller celebrities of the world “better connect with you as a fan.”

“Our goal is really to help the 99 per cent of talent monetise,” Galanis told the Chicago Tribune. “We think the Kardashians and the Drakes of the world, they have so many outlets to make money and to engage with their fans, that this is just a great outlet for everybody else to boost their reach.”

Some stars are recruited by the Cameo team and others join on their own, but they all set their own price, and get 75% of the returns. They can range from $US20 per video to a few hundred, but can seemingly change – the Tribune put former-NBA star Dennis Rodman per-video price at $US200, but it’s now up to $US1,000 per video.

For now, the video messages are shared with customers as a downloadable link via email, which they can share with the friend. The service will be available on iOS on April 27, according to the Chicago Tribune.

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