ViTrue is creating a platform for consumers to create commercial videos for brands. Although many companies have been experimenting with consumer-generated advertising (see trendwatching.com’s customer-made for a host of examples), up until now, this has mostly been in the shape of one-off contests held by individual brands. As the first agency dedicated to consumer-generated advertising, ViTrue intends to create structure in this arena, and a become a destination for brands to interact with consumers. In their own words, the agency will “enable major brands to leverage customer creativity to produce more relevant and engaging ads, at lower production and distribution costs.” Instead of creating a tailor-made platform, ViTrue has acquired online video sharing community Sharkle, whose founder explains that Sharkle’s amateur video producers will be able to continue to freely express themselves, with the added option of being able to monetize their creativity. “We’ll make them famous by aligning this creative passion with the products, services and brands they choose to use in their daily lives. The result will be more creative and less expensive advertisements that benefit everyone involved.” Although ViTrue will initially distribute commercials through online channels, the company is also working on bringing consumer-generated ads to traditional offline media, mainly TV and radio. Opportunities for customer-made video ads are backed up by forecasts for online video advertising, which is projected to grow from 17.9% to 42.4% of total rich media spending ($225 mm in 2005 to $640 mm) in 2007. And that’s just the U.S. – this will work in any market with healthy home broadband adoption.