How to Use Use (and Save!)


It’s the stuff that childhood dreams are made of. Imagine growing up watching Ric Flair smash his opponents in the wrestling ring, dreaming of one-day meeting him or getting his autograph.  While that dream may have never materialized, today, with modern technology and for a reasonable fee, you can have a personalized video of the WWE star yelling “WOOOOOOO” and wishing YOU a happy birthday, sent right to your smartphone.

In fact, Cameo, a one-of-a-kind online service, allows you to choose from tens of thousands of celebrities from sports to reality stars and even movie stars and essentially “hire” them to film and deliver a personalized message. The stars range from super famous (The Office cast members) to infamous (hello, Carole Baskin) And it’s surprisingly inexpensive. For example, a video of Flair wishing your dad a happy Father’s Day will set you back $500, but hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh? Just $99. And he’ll likely even rap a few lines, too. Or Snoop Dogg, who’s reportedly an investor. Dad will surely appreciate that a lot more than the ubiquitous tube socks and ties. 

Is a political figure more your speed? Sarah Palin will send you a greeting for $199 —no trip to Alaska needed. Prices range from just $1 for a lesser-known personality, to $1,500 to $2,500 for some of the bigger stars (Caitlyn Jenner’s ask is in that range). The stars set their own rates and take requests on content and the site takes 25%. Some stars are making six figures. Comedian and actor Michael Rapaport is the top earner on Cameo, according to the BroadbandChoices analysis. Other fan favorites are Debbie Gibson, Sonja Morgan of the Real Housewives of New York City and Shark Tank’s own Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary. 

Cameo During COVID


The site has proved a valuable tool during the recent COVID-19 crisis, where Hollywood came to a screeching halt, movie sets were shuttered, Broadway was dark and tours were canceled. Many actors, musicians and comedians were unable to make a living and instead, turned to other revenue streams like Cameo, where they could use their name and popularity to pull in some cash. It’s also proved valuable for celebrities who are considered to be “past their prime” and no longer relevant or even working in the industry, but still remain fan faves. 

According to Fast Company, “the running joke against Cameo is that it’s something of a respirator for C-list celebrities gasping for their last bit of relevancy and revenue.” But one person’s C-list is another’s A-list and nostalgia goes a long way. Case-in-point, 80s pop star Debbie Gibson is noted as a top earner. In 2020, the company pulled in gross revenue of $100 million, 75% of which Cameo paid to talent. That was up 4.5 times the year prior and the company sent out 1.3 million Cameos that year alone, says Variety

While admittedly prices have seemed to go up as the site has skyrocketed to popularity since its inception in 2016, there are still some ways to save when shopping for your favorite stars. 

Tips to Save While Using Cameo

According to Ahrim Nam, Communications Manager for Cameo, these are the best ways to lower your Cameo costs:

  • While there are a whopping 40,000 actors, athletes, musicians, comedians, activists and pop culture icons offering personalized Cameos at various price points, Nam recommends using the “filter” function on their site search so you can find one that fits your budget. 
  • The site also sends weekly “Fan Fridays” emails where they have a category of talent (i.e. Olympians during the Olympics or “Bachelor in Paradise” stars during that show’s airings, or Horror flick stars around Halloween) that go for a discounted price for a limited number of Cameos. So, be sure to subscribe. A recent e-mailer advertised $25 “stars for days” and for a limited time, you can have Frank the Tank of Barstool Sports or Zach Nichols from MTV’s The Challenge, for the price of a pedicure. 
  • Gifters and fans can also find talent that meets their budget by checking the site’s homepage around all the major holidays as it runs seasonal promotions throughout the year. 

Fan Favorites 


Zac Chiera, a 26-year old WWE superfan in upstate New York, purchases around a dozen Cameos a year for family and friends. Chiera thinks it’s a unique gift that’s always a big hit. “If I know someone’s got a birthday coming up, I’ll just search a category of something they like such as wrestling or MMA, or a TV show they like for example, and it’ll give you a list of celebrities from that category,” he explains. Recent purchases include Mike Love of The Beach Boys and a cast member of the long-running CBS reality show Big Brother. 

You can also go into the website’s search bar and search a specific celebrity you might have in mind. If they participate, you’re off and running. Some celebrities have longer waiting times than others, so be sure to check that if you have a specific date in mind. Some celebs also offer Zoom calls, or chats within the app. The site can also give you some social media cred since it allows you to post the videos to your channels, as long as they’re unedited. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Using Cameo 

  1. First, you’ll need to log onto the site or download the app and create an account.
  2. You’ll search the celeb by name, by category or you can filter by price, delivery speed and ratings/reviews. 
  3. Once you’ve chosen your celeb, you fill out a request form where you have 250 characters to explain who the message is for and what you’d like them to say. 
  4. You enter your credit card information and the celeb has up to seven days to accept the request. 
  5. Once the request is accepted, you’ll receive a video to your recipient’s phone and/or email and they can download it and save forever. 
  6. If they don’t accept within a week’s time, the site provides a refund. 

Business Cameos 


For a heftier price tag than a gifted Cameo message, businesses can use Cameo for commercial purposes. While it can cost tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands to procure a celebrity to promote your product, some celebrities provide this on Cameo for much less. These cost, on average, $1,000, but have a 30-day license for commercial and promotional use, according to Business Insider. As with all Cameos, these cannot be edited or altered in any way. 

While our obsession with celebrity culture and influencers doesn’t seem to be going away, Cameo looks to capitalize on that and search for new ways to allow you to connect with your faves. They’re also signing up new talent on the regular (and sometimes old favorites dip out if they’re busy with a project so catch ‘em while you can) — be sure to check back regularly. Fans can sign up for the site for free, and stay on top of what’s to come.

The post How to Use Use (and Save!) appeared first on The Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

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