Meet and greets have always been an important occasion for fans to get up close and personal with celebrities, get exclusive merchandise and get pictures taken with them. According to VICE, such meet and greets usually happen before tours that celebrities have and can cost up to $300-$400, with the number of attendees being kept to just around a 100 people. With the stay-at-home restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, such events have already been cancelled in Singapore. TODAY Online reports that big names such as Khalid and Jam Hsiao were set to perform in Singapore. However, the cancellations have deprived many fans of their celebrity encounters.
Since the Circuit Breaker measures have been implemented, fans have been finding new ways to engage with celebrities. Social media activity is at an all-time high, and fans are relating to celebrities more as everyone is staying home and bored out of their wits. Many celebrities are sharing videos of their home workouts or home-cooked meals, to encourage fans and spread some positivity in the online community. Newsweek reports that video-sharing application TikTok saw an increase of more than 27% of downloads from February to March. Videos are truly the closest form of interaction that fans can engage with celebrities during these unprecedented times.
Singapore start-up ACE is looking to reinvent the fan experience – through personalised “digital autographs” from celebrities. Short for “Authentic Celebrity Experiences”, ACE is bridging the social distancing gap amid the stay-at-home restrictions. Their video platform is a bridge for bored celebrities and influencers, to connect with their homebound fans. For a fee, fans can request for a personalised video message from their favourite star. There are a host of Southeast Asian stars on the platform now, such as stand-up comedian Kumar and TV personality Joey Mead King, amongst others from Malaysia and the Philippines.
Led by CEO Dene Schonknecht and Co-founder Sabrina Meier, ACE’s goal is to provide an experience that supersedes all traditional meet and greets. At a traditional meet and greet for big name celebrities, fans often pay a few hundred dollars and usually have to wait for hours in a line before being able to have a quick picture taken with a celebrity, along with a goodie bag full of exclusive merchandise. With ACE, you can receive a minute-long video from a celebrity telling you any message you desire. This digital spin on traditional meet and greets definitely elevates the fan experience, and is a meaningful piece of memorabilia you can view again and again.
ACE’s talent pool is steadily growing, with 50 stars registered on their platform, and a total social media reach of 50 million. This number is steadily rising as they aim to delight fans from around the region by connecting them with their favourite stars, be it athletes or lifestyle influencers. In fact, there is a “Request a Star” feature – which allows users to submit the names of stars they wish to book, but are not listed on the platform. With the Circuit Breaker set to continue for another month, ACE is ready to provide fans with their “celebrity fix” in the comfort of their homes.