Visual App VSCO Is Launching a Way to Connect Its Talented Users With Brands

Nike, Strava and Chobani are among the first clients

Photographer Emari Traffie created this image for Nike through VSCO's new VSCO Connect service.
Headshot of Marty Swant

Mobile photo- and video-editing app VSCO is getting ready to open up its community of photographers and videographers to brands looking for customized content.

To help companies commission and curate content that will be appealing to millennial audiences, VSCO is launching a service it’s calling VSCO Connect. The service, which goes live this week, will connect brands with photographers who might be a good fit for a specific visual aesthetic while also providing ways to use either up-and-coming artists or more seasoned professionals.

According to VSCO, 73 percent of users are under age 25, with the fastest growing segment between the ages of 13 and 17 (aka Gen Z). A number of brands have already been testing VSCO Connect in beta, including Nike, Strava, Chobani, Timberland and Powerbar.

“Since the beginning, brands have been coming to VSCO because of our community and the quality of creators from fashion tech, lifestyle,” said VSCO co-founder and CEO Joel Flory. “And they’re coming to find these creators. These are who’s next. It’s not just the influencers of today on other platforms; they really are often undiscovered.”

Here’s how the process works: When a brand signs up to use Connect, it will submit a creative brief, which a team at VSCO will manually review to understand the personality and objectives of the campaign. After that, VSCO will use Ava, its machine-learning technology, to find the right photographers to use based on attributes of photos on the platform. For example, Ava analyzes data from tagging and ranking systems to understand a certain mood of content or the personality of a creator.

The launch comes just a few months after VSCO debuted its first video editing tool in August. Content from VSCO Connect won’t appear on the platform itself, but instead will let brands publish it across their own digital and social channels.

It’s unclear what kind of revenue these partnerships will bring to content creators or to VSCO itself. Flory said the company is still exploring how a revenue share might look. (Other platforms such as Facebook and YouTube have been criticized in the past for not giving enough revenue to content creators.)

“The fee structure is something that we’re working on and piloting to figure what what is really going to work as we build this out even more,” he said.

The images shown below are examples of those already used by brands through VSCO Connect:

  1. Emari Traffie (for Nike)
  2. Kara Smarsh (for Nike)
  3. Emari Traffie (for Nike)
  4. Nathalia Allen (for Oakley)
  5. Tyree Harris (for Powerbar)
  6. Tyree Harris (for Powerbar)

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.