Have you ever found yourself casually looking at your ex’s social media account? How about making sure that you look particularly good before posting on Facebook or Twitter? Or having that Instagram snap catch you as the life of the party? It happens all the time. As a result, it should come as no surprise that a company in Japan specializes in helping you make those selfies and photos so spectacular that people cannot help but be jealous and want to be your friend.
Japanese companies are great at finding niche markets. For instance, one company allows female office workers to hire a hot guy to come to their office and cheer them up. In terms of fake photos, Real Appeal is the latest entrant in the weird world of Japanese business. The company’s goal is to make its customers appear so popular that they move up in the world. This can happen in a variety of ways, but usually it includes a selfie stick and a wide smile.
The company is a subsidiary of Family Romance. Family Romance got its start by, you guessed it, providing fake significant others to attend family functions. In many ways, it is the Japanese version of all the fake guests at South Korean weddings. However, Real Appeal’s specialty is portraying its customers in the best possible light on social media, rather than in face-to-face interactions. Similar to the existing Family Romance business, customers go to the Real Appeal site. There, they select potential “friends” from a catalog of Real Appeal staff members. Customers can choose based on age, sex, and physical attractiveness. Once selected, a staff member shows up and will pose in social media photos for two hours. The price for the service is 8,000 yen, which is about $70.
You can purchase as many “friends” as you would like. However, there is no bulk discount. Additionally, the customer is responsible for covering all the travel expenses and meals for their new “friends.” If you were planning to try out the service and live outside of Japan, prepare to break the bank.
If you see an underlying flaw in this whole business model, you are not alone. If a person doesn’t have enough friends to go out to dinner with or host at a birthday party, do they have enough friends on social media to justify paying someone $70 to stand next to them in photographs? Nevertheless, Real Appeal’s belief is that your social media accounts will make you appear to be so much fun that, suddenly, strangers and coworkers will decide you are worth hanging out with in person.