Crowdcasting App Brings Pretty People to Restaurant Openings and Special Events

Surkus aims to help restaurateurs, club owners and other entrepreneurs bypass PR agencies and promoters.



For a price, Surkus can pack your event with attractive, young "ambassadors" for the night.

If your pizzeria can’t draw a crowd with great food and atmosphere alone, a new app called Surkus just might do the trick—for a price.

Surkus helps restaurants and other businesses—from clothing boutiques to Patrón tequila— generate excitement by paying people to stand in line at grand openings or other special events. The members of the crowd are hand-picked by an algorithm based on age, location, physical attractiveness and Facebook “likes.” And part of their job is to look really, really glad to be there. Many are aspiring models, actors and social media personalities, according to the New York Times.

The Washington Post calls it “crowdcasting,” adding that the app “raises questions about the future of advertising and promotion. At a time when it has become commonplace for individuals to broadcast polished versions of their lives on social media, does Surkus give businesses a formidable tool to do the same, renting beautiful people and blending them with advertising in a way that makes reality nearly indiscernible? Or have marketers found a tool that offers them a far more efficient way to link brands with potential customers, allowing individuals to turn themselves into living extensions of the share economy using a structured, mutually beneficial transaction?”

Stephen George, Surkus’ CEO, said the app could help restaurateurs and other businesses bypass PR agencies and promoters. But George said he’s not always looking for beautiful people to populate his clients’ crowds. “We’ve had some very fun one-off events,” he told the Times. In a casting for movie extras, he provided a gaggle of senior citizens over the age of 65, although he admits that he didn’t find most of them through his app. “We may have organically hacked that and reached out to a couple of senior citizen homes in L.A.,” he admitted.

But will “crowdcasting” pay off in terms of getting your message out to the public? Not necessarily, noted Kerry O’Grady, a professor of public relations at New York University’s School of Professional Studies. “Okay, you have a bunch of pretty faces at a party, but what does that do?” he told the Post. “It’s not going to do anything if they just want to get paid to party and have no attachment to the brand itself.”

But since the app launched two years ago, Surkus members—who are paid any average of $25 to $40 per event —have turned out for 4,200 events for major brands, restaurants and clubs and live shows. Whether the concept has legs is anybody's guess, but it's an intriguing development, and you can bet imitators will come along any day now.

 

Edit Module

Tell us what you think at or email.

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Related Articles

Three Ways to Give Your Frozen Pizza Dough a Flavor Boost

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann suggests solutions to a common problem for smaller pizza shops.

New Mexico Pizzeria Owner is King of the Wings for Dry Rubs

Bob Yacone of Forghedaboutit Pizza won first place in the “Dry Rub” category and third in “XHot” at the National Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival.

Lil’ Yachty Hosts Hip-Hop Popup at Delicious Pizza in Hollywood (With Video)

This was the second restaurant takeover for the rising-star rapper, who’s reportedly obsessed with pizza.

Bowing to Customer Demand, Fast-Casual Chain Pie Five Pizza Co. Begins Offering Delivery

The pizza trailblazer says it will be able to deliver pizza “faster than any traditional pizza place.”

San Francisco Start-Up Floats Plan to Incentive Employees with Digital Currency

In addition to regular wages, drivers and pizza makers would earn “fragments” for their work.

Pizza 4 Monsters: Lady Gaga Takes Care of Fans After Canceling Concert

The “Born This Way” singer threw an impromptu pizza party outside hotel in Montreal.

Easybag: The Easiest Way to Carry Pizza, Soda and Dressing in One Hand!

New from Pizzabag.no, Easybags can be customized with your pizzeria’s logo.

Freedom of the Dough Press: How to Choose the Right One For Your Pizzeria

Tom “The Dough Doctor” Lehmann explains the key differences between hot and cold presses.

Papa John’s UK Plumbs New Depths With Its New Deep-Crust Pie

The cheese-smothered Deep Crust pizza is twice as deep as a regular Papa John’s pie.

Chicago-Style Pizza Meets Yorkshire Pudding in Frankenstein Monster of a Pie (With Video)

Rub Smokehouse has been in the news for inventing this “cheese-filled batter bomb” with a sausage base.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags