When niche celebs enter the gig economy, the cleverest brands will win




(*This editorial was published in the January 17, 2022 edition of The Globe and Mail)


Re When Art Imitates Life: Succession Star Sends Rogers A Paid Greeting (Jan. 12): Actor Brian Cox recorded a 19-second Cameo video for Edward Rogers, congratulating him on his “real-life Succession.” His fee: $875.

Once upon a time, celebrities would only break the fourth wall for a hefty price. Their preference was to appear in overseas ads with outsized marketing budgets and iron-clad contracts that swore campaigns would only run regionally. Think Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.


Today, celebrities often see video-sharing as a way of building their mythologies and working in unabashed brand partnerships to engage their most rabid fans. Unlike in decades past, when simply securing a celebrity was the win (such as George Clooney in those regrettable Nespresso ads), platforms such as Cameo are the great equalizer.


A brand may not have the biggest budget or even the biggest celebrity. But if it can figure out the cleverest way to hitchhike on their niche appeal, the effect will be outsized.

Katherine Gougeon Toronto