Dove, GE Tap Betaworks' Tapestry App for Mobile Storytelling

Brands to Distribute Their Own Stories on Mobile App

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Tapestry, a new consumer app from Betaworks designed to improve the reading experience for mobile devices, has secured its first advertising deals with Unilever's Dove and GE.

The mobile app, which has 2,000 mostly long-form stories and allows users to subscribe to authors, is part fo a portfolio of Betaworks startups attempting to reinvent content, including Chartbeat, Bitly, Social Flow, Digg and Instapaper.

Users of Tapestry can "tap" through stories, which now include some stories from brands. Dove's "10 Girls Standing" is an inspirational narrative that explores the relationship between girls' self-esteem and the choice to pursue what they love, part of a larger program Make Girls Unstoppable campaign.

"Women are strapped for time; many things are competing for her attention," said Jennifer Bremner, Unilever brand building director, skin cleansing, in an email to Ad Age. "Her mobile device is often her command central, and brands have the opportunity to provide her with in-the-moment value in the form of time and cost savings, as well as information."

The campaign is similar to Dove's Real Beauty Sketches, which has proven very desirable conten judging from its performance on Ad Age's Viral Video Chart.

Meanwhile, GE's story takes a more education approach with its "How Does a Jet Engine Work?" As readers tap through the story, a blank blueprint gradually fills with engine schematics, factoids, and annotations. Before you know it, you've learned a thing or two about the anatomy of jet propulsion.

For GE, it all started with Tapesty's first story, "Fish," by Robin Sloan (which also inspired app's inception). "It really caught the eye of the team at GE," said Jon Lombardo, who leads the company's Social Media Center of Excellence. "It really reduces storytelling to its simplest form – kind of like Vine. You'll see more [on Tapestry]; we're already working on a second one."

Tapestry is adding 70 new originals as part of its re-launch, along with new social features and author subscriptions, said GM, Jana Trantow

When Tapestry first launched, Betaworks CEO John Borthwick speculated on the future of the service and monetization potential to AllThingsD. "At some point," he said, "the technology is fairly simple and flexible, so I think people could use it for greeting cards, for poetry, for political expression, for business if they want."

Ironically, 'platform for brands to create and disseminate content' didn't make the list, though one could argue that it falls under 'business.'

Borthwick has been putting together a portfolio of services, each with the potential to become a standalone business and with the door to marketers now open, look for other Betaworks products like Digg and Telecast, both similarly apt brand partners, to follow suit.