Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

How Digg and Betaworks Built an Ad for a Steve Carell Movie in a Day

jerkIf you scanned Digg yesterday, you might have seen an ad for “The Way, Way Back,” a new movie where Steve Carell “plays an awesome jerk.”

No big deal. The news aggregator has run lots of ads in the past. What’s interesting is the company that built the ad — Digg owner Betaworks, using other parts of Betaworks’ collection of new-media startups.

Here’s the story, told via Digg general manager Jake Levine: Last Thursday, Digg talked to Graham Retzik, who heads up digital marketing for Fox Searchlight; Retzik was looking for a way to give “The Way, Way, Back,” a small movie with a few big names, a quick push.

Digg’s solution: Build an ad built on top of Betaworks’ Tapestry app, using Betaworks’ Giphy, a GIF search engine/producer.

Retzik said yes, and a Betaworks “creative SWAT team” went to work. A day later, they had produced this, which has run on Digg and Tumblr — Betaworks’ first seed investment (Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the ad had also run on the Betaworks-backed Bloglovin network):

This is Betaworks’ first “cross-brand partnership,” Levine says. But I would expect to see more to come.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald