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- On Cameo, you can purchase personalized videos from numerous celebrities.
- As a gift, I got my dad a video message from a former player on his favorite NFL team.
- I enjoyed the fast turnaround time and appreciated the variety of options for different budgets.
Cameo is a service that lets you hire celebrities to make personalized videos. The unique videos are great for birthday gifts, anniversaries, graduations, or any special occasion.
I first used the Cameo app to get a birthday present for a friend last year, and we still go back to watch the message we got from YouTube creator Juno Birch. With that experience in mind, I decided to try the service out again for a new gift idea.
I don’t live as close to my family as I used to, so I can’t visit for every special occasion in person. My dad is soon retiring, and I thought a Cameo could be a fun way to connect with him virtually and celebrate the milestone. Cameo provided Insider with a credit so I could review the service and gift my dad a video.
Here’s a full breakdown of what it was like to use Cameo, along with all the key takeaways from my gift-giving experience.
I chose an NFL player as a Cameo gift for my dad
I browsed the marketplace for an hour looking for an athlete who could make my dad’s day. To help decide which person to select, I watched the Cameo videos that are publicly available. This established expectations and gave me a sense of the final product.
As I searched, I thought about the Pittsburgh Steelers as an option. The Steelers have been my father’s favorite NFL team since he was a child, and I have fond memories of us watching games together on Sunday afternoons. Football has always been a big part of our lives since my dad played in college with his father as the coach, and I played in high school with him as one of the coaches.
Following much deliberation, I decided to book a $65 Cameo from former Steelers running back Merril Hoge. After sending my request on a Friday, I was pleasantly surprised to receive the video on the following Monday morning.
When booking the Cameo, I requested Hoge congratulate my dad for his years working as a school administrator and coach. He followed through by commending my dad for making a positive impact on young people’s lives and spoke about his own experience in college with student teaching. When I shared the video with my dad over text, he genuinely loved the personal nature of the clip and seemed to really enjoy the unique gift.
The video I received lasted one minute and 44 seconds, but the duration you get will vary depending on your celebrity and personalized requests. Cameo states that videos are “approximately :30 in duration” in its terms of service.
What I like about the Cameo experience
The turnaround time was quick for my request
I placed my order on Friday and received the video back on Monday morning. While not every request will be fulfilled in such a short time, celebrities have seven days to create a video once the Cameo is booked. To further gauge how long the request will take, Cameo features an average response time on each person’s profile.
Gift givers can also expedite orders from celebrities who have a lightning bolt on their page. The symbol means you can pay extra during checkout to ensure the video arrives in under 24 hours. This fee varies by celebrity, but I had the option to pay Hoge an extra $30 dollars for quicker delivery.
The service is easy to navigate
In addition to the profiles featured on their homepage, Cameo organizes celebrities into broad, searchable categories and more specific subgroups. When picking a Cameo, I started browsing the larger section of football players but then searched for the subcategory of Pittsburgh Steelers players to narrow down my options.
I signed up for text message alerts when placing my order and received a link on my phone to watch the video as soon as it became available. The process of downloading the video is simple, and Cameo also makes it easy to share your gift via a link or social media.
Price points are available for different budgets
While the biggest stars on Cameo can cost up to $1,500, there are numerous options for customers shopping on a budget.
For example, if you’re giving a New Orleans Saints fan a gift, a Cameo from recently retired quarterback Drew Brees costs an eye-popping $800 to book. The proceeds from Brees’ Cameos go to charity, but this price remains out of reach for most customers. A more affordable option for a Saints fan could be to get a $110 Cameo from rookie quarterback Ian Book.
Customers shopping on a budget should also consider taking advantage of Cameo’s Fan Friday promotion. On most Fridays, a select number of celebrities offer $50 Cameos to the first 15 fans who purchase a personalized video.
What I don’t like about the Cameo experience
Some celebrities might not be available
Thousands of celebrities are listed on Cameo, but the specific star you have in mind might not be accepting requests. Some famous people who were very popular on the service, like Snoop Dogg, have scaled back their availability in recent months.
If a celebrity you want to book is currently inactive on their Cameo page, you can select “Notify me when available.” You’ll receive a message once their services are back on the marketplace.
Prices vary between the app and website
Most customers might not realize this at first, but prices can vary when booking the same celebrity through the Cameo app or website. Prices on the website tend to be cheaper than the app. At the time of publication, Merril Hoge is $65 to book through the app but only $60 on the website.
The increased prices are likely in response to the 30% Apple takes from purchases made through the app for iOS. According to Cameo, a majority of their bookings are made on the website. Though the app is convenient, using the web to book a Cameo is a smart idea if you’re looking to save a few dollars.
Is Cameo worth it?
In both of my experiences, I’ve found that sending a personalized video from Cameo makes for a memorable gift. This is especially true for sports and reality TV fans since there are many athletes and reality stars available to book. If you can find a celebrity within your budget, the service is definitely worth the money.
That said, some celebrities set rates so steep that the video might not be worth the high cost. I think even the biggest gymnastics fans would have a hard time spending $1,000 to book Olympian Gabby Douglas. Budgets vary from person to person, but I’m not likely to ever spend over $150 on a Cameo.
For bookings under $150, however, I can see myself continuing to use Cameo to give gifts to people I’m not able to visit in person. The videos feel more intentional and custom than a gift card, and certain celebrities cost about the same as getting a bouquet of flowers delivered.
For more details on how to use the service, check out our full Cameo guide here.
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