Banishing the Scroll: Brands Jump onto Tapestry

Though Tapestry has been around since November 2012, the “tappable story” app created by New York digital idea factory Betaworks has been getting a new round of buzz since it released a major update with easier discovery and more content. The app now features roughly 2,000 stories that read a bit like children’s books, with one or two sentences per screen. Readers tap to see new words or images and move forward, and it’s impossible to go back to a page once you’ve passed it.

It’s a perfect medium for pithy brand messages. If an idea is enticing, Tapestry guarantees that readers will spend time focusing on a message as they gradually click through a story. There is no skimming with a text so tiny. Some brands have already tapped into Tapestry with official advertising deals or as experimental users. Either way, they get to set the bar and ride Tapestry 2.0’s wave of publicity.

Independent book publisher Quirk Books already has six “Tapestries” to its name. Individual authors submit their own mini book promotions (or “trailers”), ranging from “Broetry” to Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Readers get a taste test of the book to come and a chance to experience a writer’s style and tone.

In, “How Does a Jet Engine Work?” GE simplifies a complicated machine by drawing out a tappable blueprint. We learn that jet engine science is (according to GE) even more complicated than rocket science, so the step by step explanations help simplify things while simultaneously gaining respect for the sheer scope of GE’s work. According to AdAge, GE is already working on a second Tapestry.

Dove, no stranger to experimental digital marketing, created a Tapestry as part of their “Make Girls Unstoppable” campaign. The story,“Ten Girls Standing,” is aimed at parents and mentors, encouraging them to create a support network for girls. The last “tap” is a link to download Dove’s Self-Esteem Toolkit. Dove wanted to reach women via their “command central,” i.e. their mobile device, and Tapestry enables that in-the-moment engagement.

French children’s lifestyle brand Titou & Lili offers short animations featuring their hand-drawn characters. The charming little stories act as brief entertainment for kids but are also a calling card for the brand’s aesthetic. They’re a small company, but as an early adopter to a hyped new social platform, Tapestry will bring them more eyes and growth.

Tapestries have the potential to be educational and inspirational, a la Churchill’s Address to Congress. They can be pretty and charming, funny (Boyfriend Internship), and poetic. Imagine Tapestries as hair-braiding how-tos on, tiny Scholastic study guides for brief bus rides, or quick, shareable tours of the upcoming iPhone. There’s something about the format that feels like sitting in a circle at kindergarten snack time, listening in rapt to a teacher’s soothing voice. Tapestry makes storytelling easy and digestible, and brands with a use for this kind of content should take note.


Image by Paul Stein
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