Great for those looking for online admiration or a way to stick it to an ex, company says.
To many people, seeing is believing. Following that logic, surely a collection of photos showing yourself surrounded by friends and well-wishers is proof positive of a fulfilling, active social life, right?
That’s the thinking behind the Real Appeal service offered by Japanese company Family Romance. For a fee, Family Romance will dispatch staff members to pose for photos with you in the festive setting of your choice, so that you can later share the images on social media and publicly announce how great your private life is.
Clients can request certain genders, ages, or other visual characteristics, making their final selections from photos of available Family Romance employees. For those who want to create an intense aura of popularity, you can hire multiple photo costars at once, like the satisfied customer who left this testimonial on Family Romance’s website.
“I requested 10 Family Romance staff members pose as my friends, and we held a birthday party for me at a famous hotel in Tokyo, having a few drinks at the bar with a beautiful view of the nighttime skyline. After that, we went to my room to drink some more, they presented me with a big cake, and I took lots of selfies LOL I’ve been bust lately, so it was a fun time, and I was able to share some good photos on Facebook and Twitter.”
However, there’s one weakness to such schemes that’s pretty glaring. If you don’t have enough friends to get together for a birthday party, is anyone really paying attention to your social media posts? However, Family Romance is also billing its Real Appeal service as a way to affect a specific group or individual’s perception of you. If you want your coworkers to think you’re a more sociable person than you appear to be under normal working conditions, or if you’re romantically interested in an acquaintance with whom you’ve got an online connection and want to present yourself as someone who’s fun to be around, Family Romance can help you craft images that make it look like you’re having an absolute blast on the weekends.
The company evens promotes itself as a way to get back at an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. Recently dumped? Start tweeting a bunch of photos of the great time you’re having with your new lover (who’s actually a Family Romance employee in disguise) and let your ex know that you’ve moved on in record time. You can even request the same Family Romance staff member again on subsequent occasions if you want to really sell the fact that things are getting serious.
However, Family Romance’s services don’t come cheap. Each staff member must be booked for a minimum of two hours, which costs 8,000 yen (US$71). You’re also on the hook for any travel expenses involved, and in the case of the customer above who hired 10 “friends” for his hotel birthday party, odds are he had to pay for their drinks too, in addition to the 80,000 yen he was dropping just to have them be there (and that’s assuming he managed to wrap the whole thing up within 120 minutes).
As such, it’s safe to say that while Family Romance’s services are going to be of the greatest interest to people without a lot of friends, potential customers will still need to have a lot of money.
He can’t pay you 8,000 yen for it, but you can follow Casey on Twitter anyway.