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Sequoia India-backed Pencil launches video ad system for SMEs

New Delhi, India – Creative AI company Pencil, which has been supported by venture capital Sequoia India’s rapid scale-up funding Surge, has recently launched its latest video ad system catered to serve small businesses, as well as startups looking to gain access to the same ‘Machine Generated Creative’ (MGC) platform as larger brands, for the first time, to level the playing field. 

Pencil’s new service allows small businesses struggling to compete in an increasingly online world dominated by larger brands’ slick video ads and optimized ad spend. Pencil learns from historic ad performance to generate new video ads that help brands systematically improve Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS). This is done through Pencil’s ‘Generate’ feature, which utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to generate new video ad ideas.

Pencil is one of the first companies to launch a commercial tool using OpenAI’s GPT-3 to generate playful, effective ad copy that, combined with Pencil’s language model, enables MGC to generate entirely new narratives around a brand or product.

For context, the GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) is an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. This then allows the AI model to create texts that are indistinguishable from those of human writing and thought.

Will Hanschell, co-founder and CEO at Pencil explains that the launch of the AI ad system corresponds to the dilemma of cash-strapped businesses with limited creative resources and ad budgets, who face long odds competing for consumer mindshare against larger, more established brands.

“Pencil evens the odds with Machine Generated Creative that enables marketers to take existing copy, imagery, and video assets and automatically generate batches of video ads that learn to perform week-on-week,” Hanschell stated.

Based on its proven performance, the company was recently accepted into Facebook Marketing Partners, a program that connects businesses to an ecosystem of specialists.

Alongside the launch, there are three tiers that advertisers can subscribe to based on their ad needs namely ‘Generate’ which creates copy and video ad ideas for startups and small businesses to test 10 ads a month for a single brand, the ‘Generate+ Learn’ plan which includes a patented machine learning loop that predicts outcomes and optimizes performance, and the ‘Enterprise’ plan which provides custom pricing, integrations, and features for large agencies and creative teams. Rate per ad ranges from US$25 to US$50 per ad.