Should You Be at SXSW?

March 21, 2013 // By: // No Comments

Consumer Electronics     

You might have asked yourself this question as #sxsw dominated your Twitter feed over the past week: should I be there? I just got back from my second year at SXSW Interactive and was energized by all creative brand activations I was able to see.

SXSW is known for a lot of things — particularly the launch of Twitter and Foursquare — but it is so much more than a launch pad for start-ups. In fact, the buzz this year was all around hardware solutions, and big brands like American Airlines, Chevy and Oreo were front and center at the interactive conference. 

While most major tech companies have a presence at SXSW Interactive, the festival also features plenty of non-tech brands that help to reach a younger audience, launch a new product, drive social buzz, etc. Here are a few brands that caught my eye:

• American Airlines used their SXSW sponsorship to raise awareness for their new merger with US Airways and created a giant mosaic of Twitter profile pics for anyone who tweeted with #newAmerican.

• Chevy and Esurance both collected customer data for sales leads through prize giveaways in their Convention Center lounges. And for the fourth consecutive year, Chevy provided a unique way for attendees to “experience” their cars with their “Catch A Chevy” program: SXSW registrants could get a free ride anywhere in Austin by hailing a wrapped Chevy.

• Oreo sampled product and drove social buzz by encouraging people to tweet a photo of themselves with the new Oreo Grab & Go product (using the hashtag #oreograbgo) for the chance to win special meet-and-greet experiences with SXSW panelists or a shopping spree with a former Project Runway winner.

• Google and Samsung both maintained their cool factors with brand-immersive spaces. The one-day only Google Playground allowed people to check out Google’s new talking shoe, while the Samsung Galaxy Experience showcased its Galaxy line of products and offered perks to SXSW attendees with Samsung phones – such as special deals from local businesses or a freshly charged battery delivered to your location.

Aside from everything SXSW can do for your company or brand, it can also help you as a professional. As PR people, it is our job to stay on the cutting edge of what’s next. SXSW Interactive provides an opportunity to meet new people to collaborate with, connect face to face with people you’ve been working with and discover new, innovative ways to do business better or engage with a target consumer.

So will you be at SXSW 2014? I hope to see you there.

About the Author

Melissa Todisco

Melissa Todisco has been with Hunter PR since 2003. She has a extensive consumer product experience, working primarily on home, lifestyle and consumer health brands, with a particular focus on targeting women and moms.
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