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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik