ViTrue Invites User-Created Video Ads

NEW YORK A new company is looking to tap public creativity with a platform for brands to collect consumer-generated video ads.

Atlanta-based ViTrue has $2.2 million in backing from General Catalyst Partners and former WebMD CMO Reggie Bradford, who is CEO of ViTrue. It has acquired video-sharing site Sharkle.com, which it plans to use to connect amateur producers with big brands.

“In many cases, they’re going to have more success than any individual creative would,” Bradford said. “The vision is to get brands more involved [in consumer-generated content] and allow them to tap into this in a more meaningful and powerful way.”

Sharkle.com, which launched about six months ago, attracts 1 million users a month, according to the company. It will continue to operate a video-sharing site, only it will offer creators the opportunity to participate in a marketplace for video ads. ViTrue provides a video ad-production platform that includes brand assets and consumer-creation tools. Sharkle users will rate the ads.

In its first promotion, ViTrue helped Sony Pictures attract “thousands” of video submissions for The Benchwarmers of users depicting their experiences as nerds. While Sony does not plan on using those videos as ads on other sites, Bradford believes future pushes will entail brands using creative both online and in mass media.

“We do think there’s going to be great creative that will pass the test and be of good enough quality to run on television,” he said.

Bradford said ViTrue would eventually offer amateur creators financial incentives for ads created.

“Our goal is to take this video site and create a business model where folks can make money on it,” he said.