Crazy prices Aussie celebs charge for Cameo videos
Australians have spent more than $260,000 on celebrities to deliver everything from pep talks, birthday wishes and more to family and friends.
And the real figure is likely to be much higher, with the already hefty sum based on bookings with just a handful of stars.
Cameo, a website where fans can pay anyone from social media influencers to movie greats for personalised video shout outs, has revealed to News Corp Australia that Aussies spent $US200,000 ($A268,000) on just 10 celebrities between March and October this year, a period where many were subjected to coronavirus lockdowns.
The most popular stars included The Inbetweenersactor James Buckley who presently charges $50 a video; Australian comedian Alex Williamson ($48); local funnyman Heath Franklin who is known for his Chopper Read impersonation ($40); CEO of Big Cat Rescue, Carole Baskin, who featured in the Netflix docu-series Tiger King ($299); Porn star Johnny Sins ($109); Former AFL player Billy Brownless ($100); American actor David Hasselhoff ($499); Larry Thomas, also known as The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld ($80), and legendary British actor John Cleese ($330).
Prices are shown in US dollars on the Cameo website, but are converted to Australian dollars upon purchase.
Local comedy troupe Sooshi Mango was also among the top 10 but is not currently accepting bookings.
Cameo said Australians requested about 30,000 videos over the eight-month period. Half were wanted for birthdays, and the remainder for general gifting and pep talks among other things.
Clips were on average just over one minute in duration.
The website is understood to host around 30,000 celebrities, and more than 500 can be found under the tag "Australian".
Among the most expensive stars Down Under is shock jock Kyle Sandilands who requests $1000 for a video, while Rogue Traders frontwoman and former X-Factor judge Natalie Bassingthwaighte asks for $500.
Sugar Rush host Adriano Zumbo, whose dessert empire collapsed in 2018, says he can bring "smiles or tears" for $85, while Peter Rowsthorn (Brett from Kath & Kim) is "happy to send any messages that make you or a groovy loved one feel great", for $40.
The original yellow Wiggle, Greg Page, who suffered a heart attack earlier this year, will do a shout out for $60 and says 50 per cent of all money paid for his "Heart of the Nation" program to support CPR and defibrillator awareness.
A Cameo spokesperson said talent set and adjusted their own prices "to fit their availability, objectives and lifestyles".
"We believe this approach gives talent even greater control over the return on investment of doing Cameos, and in some cases, helps manage the volume of requests," the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson said Cameo provided celebrities pricing guidance in the form of comparable stars on the site "and relevant anecdotes with the goal of setting expectations for input/time spent and demand".
Talent management agency Harry M Miller Group CEO, Lauren Miller, said celebrities should consider their motivations before joining Cameo and similar sites, and believed the key was making themselves "scarce".
"If they're just on there phoning it in and they don't care … what they're saying or doing and they're just ticking it over, then I'd say your value and integrity is poor,' Ms Miller said.
"So is there brand damage in that? Of course there is. If you're so available, that reduces your value."
Ms Miller, who manages Osher Günsberg, said The Bacheloretteand Bachelor host illustrated how celebrities should use the site correctly.
Günsberg, who charges $32, only does shout outs at certain times of the year, and donates the money to charity - presently, World Bicycle Relief, a not-for-profit organisation that distribute bikes in developing countries.
Ms Miller said through using the site, celebrities also ran the risk of having their videos shared by people with beliefs they may not want to be associated with, or being trolled.
Indeed, earlier this year, a Cameo video showed Carole Baskin delivering a birthday message to disgraced Australian entertainer and convicted paedophile, Rolf Harris.
Sports stars are also flocking to homegrown video-sharing platform, Swysh, which has also recently launched in New Zealand.
More than 300 professional athletes have joined the website since its inception less than a year ago, with video requests ranging between $20 to $125 depending on the athlete.
At least 20 per cent, and up to 70 per cent, of all proceeds are donated to the company's charity partners, Starlight Children's Foundation and Variety in Australia.
Swysh told said the most requested athletes among local customers were NRL fullback James Tedesco (Sydney Roosters); AFL midfielder Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood); NRL lock Cameron Murray (Rabbitohs); NRL fullback Tom Trbojevic (Manly Sea Eagles); netball player Liz Watson (Melbourne Vixens); NRL hooker Brandon Smith (Melbourne Storm); AFL key forward Taylor Walker (Adelaide), former NRL player-turned-commentator Darryl Brohman.
CEO and Founder, Michael Roth, said Swysh was on the verge of donating $100,000 to children's charities.
Originally published as Crazy prices Aussie celebs charge for Cameo videos