I’m not sure whether every person I’ve met has daddy issues, or there is a spell on our general collective that makes us forget every fact about our fathers when it’s time to give them a gift. Either way, I’m not ashamed to say that, whatever the occasion, finding a “gift for dad” is unnecessarily, aggravatingly difficult — and that’s why we have Cameo.
An app that manages to both win its creators’ a spot on Forbes’ 30 under 30 and flatten the fan-celeb experience, Cameo turns a simple concept into a plethora of uses. As you’re surely aware by now, the transaction is simple: You like a celebrity, you pay said celebrity a certain amount of money and they will send you a video that says the name you request and a list of platitudes strung together like they’re trying to up the word count on a middle school essay about the Constitution, and that’s it.
But as a product, Cameo operates as a lot of things on Al Gore’s internet: It’s a viral wedding present; it’s a prank to own a right-leaning political name like Omarosa by *reads notes* paying her $50; it can even be a way to yell at the world that you’re really into the idea of gender.
But Cameo truly thrives when it’s used as a Dad Gift.
You’ll notice that I said Dad Gift, rather than name a holiday. To be extremely honest, I personally believe if the gift is going to a dad, the occasion doesn’t matter. Think about it: When has the occasion of graduation, 50th birthday, wedding anniversary, divorce celebration or Father’s Day ever resulted in a fulfilling shopping experience?
Instead, you’ll manage to imagine a ton of incredibly detailed things your father won’t like, need or use. With those thoughts firmly under your belt, you will browse until the night before the holiday, when you realize you have squandered your planning time entirely. After scouring “55 Gifts for Dad” lists online until your eyes start to bleed (you know what I’m talking about — the gift guides that include a paragraph about gifts that come from the heart, and end with a page-long list of power tools for him), you will realize that you’re still using your dad’s Amazon prime account and he’ll definitely see you pay for rush shipping. With a heavy heart, you settle on a quick trip to the mall/department store/CVS to get him a copy of whatever you got him last year, and make a promise to do better next time.
And with all of your guilt firmly in your throat, you will watch the person you love, hate, or have complicated feelings for, open a male-coded gift from Lowes and wonder where you went wrong along the way. Next year, or the next occasion, comes sooner than you think. Rinse and Repeat.
Cameo exists to save you from that.
The problem with Dad Gifts always stems from an abundance of feelings and an underwhelming spread of options. We live in a society that has conditioned us to have a capitalist response to most holidays. The consumers’ notion of Christmas, Valentine’s Day, even Presidents’ Day (which I still think is fake) have all been created, tailored, marketed and packaged as an excuse to show love through spending money. As much as I would love to turn this into an article about resisting the system, I can’t argue that some presents are good, and Cameo is the perfect combination of chaotic energy and niche dad interests that would make some parents very, very happy.
Cameos are like the Facebook memes of presents: You have to know your recipient for them to have worth. At the bare minimum, a successful Cameo requires you to know what your dad likes, what your dad appreciates, and what will make him smile. And if that isn’t the recipe for a perfectly fine Dad Gift, then I don’t know what is.
Your parent, who has none of the odd feelings about the ever-decreasing wall between normal person and “celebrity,” will most likely find the concept of a video from their favorite actor an incredibly special gift. And you, the gift giver, will get to revel in the fact that a celebrity you adored as a child now spends their day fulfilling basic Cameos in a surprisingly chaotic office in Burbank. Honestly, it’s a win-win for both parties.
Best of all, if you’re able to wade through the Cameo seas of reality stars and B-list influencers, you might find some real gems of talent. Lord of the Rings fan? Well here’s most of the Fellowship. No matter the hobby, there’s most likely a Cameo out there for your dad.
All parents love memories. For better or worse, it’s always the thought behind the gift that counts, and when you hand them a monogrammed wallet from CVS or a handmade leather bookmark you had flown in from Italy, they’re thinking the exact same thing: “Wow, I love my kid.”
So while a heartfelt gift, one that combines their interests and your feelings, is clearly the ideal option, Cameos might be the next best thing. A great way to show you care, Cameos prove that you listen to the person that had a hand in your life. And if your dad posts his Cameo on social media, proclaiming you the best child in the world, you can thank me later.