High Concept

Brant E. Herman heard it on the radio: the brother of a movie star had been in an auto accident. Not the star -- his brother. Not some fiery, fatal crash -- a fender bender. And that snatch of irrelevance masquerading as news got Herman thinking. Why did fame's spotlight shine on some and not on others? How come the world recognized Darva Conger but not people like him?

Herman was working for an auction site that sold trading cards. And it struck him that those palm-size testimonials to their subjects' significance were the perfect medium for democratizing celebrity. So last year Herman launched PeopleCards. PeopleCards resemble traditional trading cards in format, with a photo (mostly amateurish, often unflattering) on the front and a compilation of not-especially-vital stats on the back. They come seven to a cellophane-wrapped package at a cost of $2.99. The first series is being sold through 200 retail outlets nationwide.

As for the cards' subjects, most applied for the honor on PeopleCards' Web site ( www.peoplecards.net). "These people are never going to be in a movie or on TV," says Todd Herman, vice-president of sales. "They're saying, 'Hey, world, look at me."



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