Cameo Is Enlisting Your Kids' Favorite Characters To Expand Their Reach
Through the service, kids can receive personalized messages from their favorite “celebrities.”
When the personal messaging platform Cameo first debuted back in 2017, it became an instant hit. Actors, singers, reality TV stars, and pretty much anyone with a smidgen of fame joined the platform and charged anywhere from $20 to $800+ (I see you, Chaka Khan!) for a personalized message from their favorite celebrity.
Now they’re ready to expand their reach to sending kids personalized messages from some of their favorite people and characters.
(Side note: one time I got my husband a Cameo from the guy who plays Dan Scott on One Tree Hill and it was the best $60 I have ever spent. I will die on that hill.)
Cameo really nestled itself into a niche market where people could give gifts from miles away of something that most people dream of — some sort of acknowledgement from their favorite celebrity that they exist.
Cameo’s numbers soared during the pandemic as many actors and people in the entertainment business ran to the platform to make some extra money while the industry went on pause. It was also a great way for family and friends to connect.
2020 was a record year for the company that generated $100 million in gross merchandise value and grew at a rate of more than 4.5x year-on-year.
Today, the platform has over 50,000 different public personalities to choose from. Over four million Cameos and live calls have been made since the platform started. In February 2022, Cameo saw approximately four million monthly website visits from users worldwide.
Where Cameo really wins big is a lot of their advertising is done for them. After a friend buys a cameo for another, the chances of them sharing that celebrity message to their social media is more than likely. In fact, according to Cameo president Arthur Leopold, 85% of them are shared on social media or otherwise distributed to friends by their recipients.
While the platform did have some kid-friendly options like a few voice actors, including Scott Innes, who voices Scooby-Doo, but there really wasn’t anyone super popular that kids would really freak over getting a message from. That is, until in 2019, Blippi — every parent’s nightmare — joined Cameo.
The success of Blippi, who is not active on the platform right now, opened the eyes of Cameo execs who saw an opportunity. “We want to partner with more studios and IP holders,” says Leopold. “Kids content is a big opportunity for us.”
If Cameo wants to break into the kid-content industry, now is the time. The platform raised over $100 million back in March 2021 from investors which gave them a valuation of just over $1 billion.
Cameo will offer a more personalized experience with kids’ favorite characters that goes beyond seeing a live show or watching the same episode 10 times. “On Cameo, brands and characters can say something directly to kids, and that kind of engaging experience can turn a child into a fan for life,” Leopold explained.
In November 2021, Thomas the Tank Engine joined the platform. “Hi friends, it’s me — Thomas! Ready to deliver a special kid-friendly message just for you. Celebrate a birthday, holiday, or someone earning a big SKY FIVE,” the popular train cartoon’s page reads.
YouTubers who focus on creating children’s content are also getting in on the Cameo action like Jaime Amor who is the face of the ridiculously popular YouTube channel Cosmic Kids Yoga, which has 1.3 million subscribers. Amor told KidScreen that Cameo takes all the guess work out of personalized messages for kids — something she was once doing on her own.
“It’s a wonderful connection that’s super-personal. Kids can participate in what you’re creating when they send in what they want to see, and that makes the content mean so much more to them. And it builds their engagement with the final product,” she explained.
For millennials who want to experience a bit of nostalgia, Noel MacNeal — the puppeteer and voice of The Bear In The Big House — can send you a hello as himself or as the bear for $63. Murray Cook, from the original group of The Wiggles is also on Cameo for all the Wiggles purists out there.
It seems like it’s only a matter of time before more kid creators, cartoon characters, and voice actors jump on this opportunity.