Word has it that Santa Claus may just be a wee bit delayed this coming Christmas, what with his merry entourage being reportedly subjected to the mandatory swab test and 14-day quarantine.
But to tide us over for the mean time, turns out anyone could now book Santa for a virtual greeting this holiday season.
Through the local platform Celebritygreetings.ph, anyone could have a personalized greeting from Santa Claus (as portrayed by the Philippine Santa John Wallance) for a fee.
“Right now, we are focused on preparing for the Christmas season and have onboarded several cosplayers who can do video greetings for kids. We have princesses, cosplayers who do movie characters and more,” Alex Natividad, who founder the site, told PhilSTAR L!fe.
The website is now a few months old and has grown its roster of celebrities from 20 to over 140 at present, with differing fees ranging from a few hundred pesos to the thousands for some artists. The team behind the start-up said they are targeting to hit 200 by year-end.
Some of the celebrities now include Patrick Garcia, Baron Geisler, Jinri Park, Jed Madela, DJ Nicole Hyala, and Empress Schuck among others. There are also athletes like Mika Reyes, Jeff Chan, CJ Cansino as well as comedians like Alex Calleja, Macoy Dubs, and Archie Alemania.
Natividad said she saw the market for the service when she was working before in the events industry, as a segment during events is usually alloted where a recorded celebrity greeting is played.
“With this in mind, we thought it would be great to help bridge Pinoys to their idols by creating a greeting company,” said Natividad.
The earlier launch of an Internet-based service in the US through cameo.com, where celebrities get paid to greet, further embolded the team to proceed with the idea.
“Being a new concept, we're focusing more on introducing the service to the local market. We are more focused on getting the word out and letting fellow Pinoys know that they can now easily reach their idols and actually get a personalized video message from them with just a click of a button,” said Natividad. “The concept fits perfectly into the Pinoy culture because we are loyal fans to our Pinoy idols.”
Natividad said that aside from the usual birthday greetings, they have had also a fair share of unique requests.
“One of the most surprising but also pleasant requests we've received so far was a gift from a friend. He asked his friend's idol to say congratulations to him for testing negative on his COVID-19 rapid test. This goes to show that giving a personalized shoutout to your loved ones doesn't necessarily need a ‘special occasion.’ It can be any message or request to show your love to your family and friends,” said Natividad.
Beyond the website, Natividad said they are hoping to eventually put up an app to make it easier for their talents and clients to user their growing service.
“In the age of online shopping and the current trend now of 'online gifts,' personal celebrity greetings have a huge potential in the market since it is a safe but personalized gift to give to your loved ones,” Natividad said.