sxsw 2014 creative stimulus

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H+K Digital Practice SXSW Creative Stimulus

Background Every spring Austin is taken over by thousands of people from the music, film and interactive/digital world. People come from all over the world to check out the latest trends and network.

What happens? For the interactive festival most of the official action happens around the Austin Convention Center with additional activity and panels happening at outlying hotels.

Why are brands present? SXSW provides a great environment for brands to engage with influencers in the film, digital and music industries. Interactive is particularly attractive to brands as the attendees digital footprint can amplify messaging considerably.

About SXSW Interactive

Clutter is a huge challenge for brands

Julian Assange & Edward Snowden SXSWi is powered by the idea that all things internet will set us free and make the world a better place. Therefore the current furor around these two dissident characters made them headliners in this years festival. Given their locations and travel bans they were Livestreamd into the Convention Center.

Dissidents & Celebrities

Celebrities Celebrities help garner press and are a regular part of SXSW. Justin Bieber made a surprise appearance as did Mr. Sulu from Star Trek and Lady Gaga with a keynote address. Various other celebrities appeared to promote their latest films, videos or promote brand associations.

Every year Austin attracts a diverse range of selfie worthy characters

Food Brands sponsored food trucks to help get their message across. Go To Meeting set up a free lunch station, only available to those who download their app.

Brands as a Service

Transportation Pedal cabs are a big part of getting around Austin and many brands had creative examples to bring them alive. For example, HBO created a Game of Thrones pedal cab.

Brands mixing creativity with utility are always well received

Go to Meeting free lunch

Game of Thrones bike

AT&T AT&T created a program called the Mobile Movement to engage with young Americans around their mobile devices. Given the growing viewing and creation of video on mobile, the brand created a series of videos and encouraged their network to create their own videos about how they use their phone. At SXSW AT&T created an Upwardly Mobile showcase for emerging digital technologies, debuted video content and featured various musical acts.

Brand Activations

Brand Activations

Oreos Trending Station The brand continued to build on its famous 2013 Super Bowl tweet, aiming to extend its reputation for real-time creativity and engagement. The Trending Station was set up in a high traffic location and attendees tweeted with the relevant #. This tweet allowed them to choose one of ten current trending topics on twitter. This topic was then made into a customized Oreo flavor. Milk was served on site.

Brand Activations

3M The brand hosted an Idea Exchange in a large tent to showcase some interesting new innovations like a hockey table activated by swipe technology.

3M also created a simple tweet-balloon that inflated every time someone tweeted their hashtag. After several hundred tweets it popped and whoever sent the last tweet won $500.

Deloitte Deloitte was a large sponsor of the festival and had several activations all over town. The most innovative was a 3D printing station that printed both plastic and edible food in 3D (on separate printers!)

Brand Activations

eSurance Developed a Refuel lounge that allowed passers-by to recharge batteries, access wifi and drink cleansing juice.

Brand Activations

Task Rabbit Task Rabbit partnered with to deliver to attendees emergency business cards and a SXSW survival kit consisting of breath freshener, Uber and Austin Java coffee vouchers. This was definitely the most impactful mobile on the streets of Austin!

Brand Activations

Vines Vimeo set up a Vine recording booth with the resulting vines then projected onto walls at their event as part of a collage.

Music Events and Activations

Instagram Printers To promote Lifetimes Devious Maids, attendees could take photos with Devious Maids, the hashtag would then trigger the printer to produce a hard copy.

Music events are a big draw, brands use on site digital tactics to amplify their activity.

Virtual Reality of Data Using VR to help understand trends in big data and draw better and faster insight.

The Exhibition Floor

Haircuts Yes Haircuts!

Remote people on wheels The speed of connectivity now allows for real time screens and remote human interaction.

Panels & Sessions Key Themes

Silicon Valleys new focuscreativity John Maeda is now the first design partner in Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. Creativity is becoming essential in Silicon Alley as VCs realize that user experience is key to creating value.

Online and Offline Collision Bridging on and offline, 3D printing continued from last year to be a key theme. Microsoft talked about getting inspiration from childrens offline due to their intuitively simple approach to using new devices. Taking interactive content into the real world, many of the larger keynote sessions were rendered by artists into interesting visuals of relevant thoughts and themes

Teens and Social Danah Boyd discussed the key findings from her new book, Its Complicated. Looking at the evolution of teens and the motivations behind their use of technology from the 90s onwards. Key motivations such as the need to connect with friends and avoid parents, havent changed, but the channels have. She predicts a future of increasing channel segmentation and the growth of Vine-like applications that allow for more experimentation.

H+K Panels #NanoSizeMe How small rules

Small Communities, Big Impact Ford, Charity:Water and a food blogger discussed how best to approach small communities and share passions. They concluded that the future required listening, understanding and empowerment.

Micro-targeting vs macro-targeting Coke, Alfac and Informatica reviewed how macro mass media tactics still have an important role to play. Uniquely combined approaches often lead to the most effective result.

The Internet of Things GE, Quirky, Boeing and Cornell Medical talked about how small data from lots of personal devices can lead to an improved relationship with your customer. Trust is paramount to cementing this relationship.

Sharing Economy HomeAway, Etsy, ThredUp and Feastly discussed this hot topic and decided the future lay with micro-entrepreneurs, adoption by large corporations and adapting of regulations to meet the peer to peer business model.


Thank You. James Anstey Senior Vice President [email protected] D : +1 212 885 0459 M : +1 917 304 9850

Slide Number 1Slide Number 2Slide Number 3Slide Number 4Slide Number 5Slide Number 6Slide Number 7Slide Number 8Slide Number 9Slide Number 10Slide Number 11Slide Number 12Slide Number 13Slide Number 14Thank You.James AnsteySenior Vice [email protected] : +1 212 885 0459M : +1 917 304 9850