How Cameo Succeeded By Making A Contrarian Bet Early On
Cameo wasn’t the first platform that allowed celebrities to sell videos to their fans but one strategy that the cofounders followed early on differentiated it and allowed it to beat the competitors.
A few months after launching, Cameo only had three celebrities, Devon Townsend, one of the cofounders and a Vine influencer, Cody Ko, another Vince star, and Cassius Marsh, an NFL player. While Devon and Cody were getting overwhelmingly positive feedback after selling cameos, fans of Cassius were calling him a sell-out.
It became clear to the team that influencers were a better fit for the platform than a-list celebrities for several reasons:
They are already used to selling merchandise to their audience.
They have loyal fans that relate to them more intimately after watching many of their videos.
They don’t charge crazy prices: $5-10 compared to ~$2,500 that celebrities like Dwayne Wade and Lebron James were charging on other platforms.
"The contrarian bet we made was that it would be way better for us to have people with small, loyal followings, often unknown to the general population, but who were willing to charge $5 to $10." — Steven Galanis, Cameo CEO
Once the team found their niche, they hired 15 college interns who spent all day DMing influencers.
Cameo’s strategy worked beautifully because first, the creators promoted their Cameos on social media attracting new customers, and then the customers shared the videos and their reactions luring more celebrities and users into the app.
By 2020, Cameo had 20,000 creators. They haven’t released more recent numbers but all we know is that the company is valued at above $1 Billion!
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Personally, my favorite category of Cameos is job-quitting ones so I’ll leave you with one below. Until next time 👋