As the amount of user-generated video continues to grow, a startup called SparkReel aims to help companies harness those videos for their own promotional efforts. Now the startup should get a big boost thanks to a new partnership with VivaKi, the digital innovation arm of advertising giant Publicis.
VivaKi is making the deal through its ventures group, which is headed by Michael Wiley. Despite the name, Wiley said his group doesn’t normally invest cash for equity – instead, it connects startups with the parts of Publicis where their technology and services might be useful, and it also works with startups to develop new products and features that might specifically address client needs. (Wiley said VivaKi has started to make traditional equity investments too, but that’s a separate process.)
So why work with SparkReel? Wiley said VivaKi is focused on four major “pillars” — mobile, social, “next generation storytelling,” and data/analytics. With tools that allow marketers to collect fan videos directly and also to aggregate them from social platforms like Instagram, Vine, and YouTube, SparkReel occupies “three of the pillars for sure, if not all four,” he said. (Since the videos can be posted from desktop or mobile, and since SparkReel also offers analytics showing where videos are posted and what people are saying about them, I think it’d be fair for the startup to claim all four.)
To illustrate what SparkReel can do, co-founder Matt Gibbs sent me a few of examples via email. He said Men’s Fitness Magazine used SparkReel to power its fitness challenge, with 400 posted videos posted driving 80,000 views. Verizon Fios, meanwhile, held a contest tied to Iron Man 3, where fans could share their “superhuman” moves for a chance to win tickets to the red carpet premiere. And Keystone Mountain used SparkReel for a Facebook community where guests at Keystone’s terrain park Area 51 could share their “top shreds.”
“Brands aren’t the only ones excited about simplified video sharing,” Gibbs added. “SparkReel also helps turn wedding guests into a team of crowdsourced videographers.” (I’m guessing that part may be little less interesting to VivaKi, though hey, maybe I’m wrong.)
Including SparkReel, there are now a total of nine companies in VivaKi’s ventures program: Chute, CrowdTwist, Flite, Jana, Mass Relevance, Nativo, SeeMore Interactive, and Voxsup.