CGM done safely

Consumer-generated ad mash-ups can be mighty scary for control-freak brand managers. But, like it or not, consumer generated media (CGM) ain't going away. So why not facilitate it?

Consumer-generated ad mash-ups can be mighty scary for control-freak brand managers. But, like it or not, consumer generated media (CGM) ain’t going away. So why not facilitate it?

A new Atlanta-based company called ViTrue has set out to hook up advertisers with tools to encourage users to have fun with their brands. ViTrue, which has a strategic alliance with the Publicis Group, has partnered with Sharkle.com, a free YouTube-ish video-sharing community with 100,000 registered users and one million unique visits per month.

ViTrue, which positions itself as a pioneer of the user-created ad platform, helps marketers participate in online communities like Sharkle by setting up spaces equipped with branded video elements that users can mash up to create their own commercials and share with others.

‘ViTrue is established as ‘a safe place for brands,” explains Trevor Wright, president and founder of Sharkle. ‘Advertisers need to begin to understand and participate in these communities, and the question is how to do that.’ He predicts that as skittish advertisers become more comfortable with the concept of user-generated ads, they’ll be more open to allowing users to splice in their own footage in the mash-ups.

ViTrue is currently running a beta site for popular US burrito chain Moe’s Southwest Grill, which will officially launch in September. Users can create and post their own Moe’s video ads by mashing up the Moe’s ad materials that are provided on the site. Other users can comment and vote for their favourite ads. The creator of the spot that best illustrates the tag ‘Moe’s Burrito in Every Hand’ will win free burritos for life.