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July 3, 2013

Crowds on Demand — "Live like an A-lister!"

I only learned of this company when I read an article about its founder in the latest issue of UCLA Magazine.

Excerpts from Sean Brenner's story below.


Rare is the American entrepreneurial success story that begins, "I was getting off of a plane in Estonia...." But just as he was about to begin a Baltic vacation a couple of years ago, Adam Swart '14 conceived of an idea for an unusual business.

"I saw some VIPs getting off of the plane, and they were welcomed with all of this fanfare," says Swart, a Palo Alto native who expects to graduate next spring. "I thought, 'Why can't anybody be welcomed this way? Why is it just for A-listers?'"

Before long, Swart had come up with the idea for his start-up, Crowds on Demand. If you want to know what it's like to have a throng of people give you a hero's welcome at the airport, a crush of paparazzi track your every move while you shop, or a horde of adoring fans follow you around — Swart's firm will send a team of actors to fulfill your wish.

Many of Swart's clients are tourists looking to live out a fantasy. Others are up-and-coming entertainers who figure that if they can manufacture some fake buzz around themselves, real attention from the media might follow. One development Swart didn't expect: The firm has been contracted by advertising and public relations agencies to generate attention for their clients' products at conferences and trade shows.

Swart has booked events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Fees begin at $2,999 for the "celebrity fan experience" and $9,999 and up to have hundreds of actors hold a rally in your honor.

As the business grows, Swart hopes to combine his crowdbuilding acumen with his academic interests. "We could use crowds to galvanize political sentiment," he says. "Our services can really get people informed about issues that matter. People pay so much attention when they see us."

July 3, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink


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Jon Ronson wrote of this in the June GQ:

"Paparazzi and crazed fans are pursuing me down Hollywood Boulevard. They scream out my name and that of my 14-year-old son, Joel. And we're just trying to have some private time! Curious bystanders ask my bodyguards for permission to have their photographs taken with me. I sullenly agree. No one suspects this is fake — that the people chasing us are actors hired by a company called Crowds on Demand — because what idiot would pay for this? But it is fake. Idiots do pay for this."


If you like that, try one or two -- or all -- of his "Jon Ronson on..." BBC Radio 4 series here: http://www.jonronson.com/ronsonon.html

Posted by: Mike Harney | Jul 5, 2013 10:19:59 PM

OMG, (I really hate using OMG), can you believe the underlying
complications for one's ego to need this!

Anyone that needs this is severely undeveloped (not at a news level).

Posted by: joepeach | Jul 3, 2013 7:08:20 PM

I know another way to create crowds on demand: SWAT the person.

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Jul 3, 2013 12:14:20 AM

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