SXSW – who did it best

  • March 15, 2012
  • Kari Hernandez

The last five days were a whirlwind of activity for INK and several of our clients participating in SXSW. Hats off to our amazing team who worked day and night to make the most out of the event and who still made time for panels and parties, tweeting all along the way! The amazing thing about SXSW is that even though you hardly sit down or sleep for five days, you somehow come out of the event with more energy than you arrived with. The show is undoubtedly a business event (what true consumers do you know that would spend $500-1000 on a show badge?) but it promotes and demonstrates a better side of business, a more human side of technology, and I find that motivating and invigorating. My biggest takeaways from the event and who did it best:

Don’t be afraid to be BOLD
Don’t be afraid to light up downtown, to inject personality and embrace conflict in your storytelling, or if you have the means, bring out Hova.

– To launch the new Fuelband device (with Bluetooth 4.0 I might add!) and API, Nike turned Austin’s tallest building into a mobile app to track the energy level of the crowd at its Diplo/Sleigh Bells party.

American Express hosted an exclusive Jay-Z concert to promote its Sync service, which allows cardholders to link their cards to their Twitter accounts to earn discounts. The show took place at the Moody Theater, home of Austin City Limits. Granted, you had to get in line at the crack of dawn to get tickets but I hear it was worth it. Doesn’t get much bolder and got American Express a lot of buzz and good will.

– Kara Swisher rocked her Monday panel, “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Backwards in Heels,” because she injected humor and her personality into her presentation, and she was speaking about a topic she’s passionate about. She does this every day in her writing as well.

Nike lights up Austin












Be Human, Be Useful
Some of the most effective campaigns at SXSW were unselfish and helpful for people at the event, leaving a lasting and positive impression with show-goers.

– Instead of offering up music, booze or breakfast tacos (although, do not let me discourage anyone from offering up those wonderful things – very human, very useful ;-), Nokia gave out Lumias to 50 Twitter users as part of its #ijustplantedatree campaign to help rebuild Central Texas after the devastating wildfires last year. The company donated money for 5 trees to be planted every time someone tweeted the hashtag #ijustplantedatree. Thank you Nokia!

– We loved that HBO sponsored a bike share, providing a necessity and, at the same time, moving billboards for its new show Girls (here’s the trailer).

– Mapquest got props for its “Colorado Ranch” offsite hang-out as a relaxed place to connect with Colorado start-ups from Erika Napoletano, author of The Power of Unpopular (which I just started reading, will let you know what I learn) in this Forbes interview.

Nokia's SXSW campaign

The biggest FAIL at SXSW this year? Homeless hotspots. Granted it was bold and arguably useful (depending which side of that hotspot you were on) but they overstepped into inhumane territory. I think Jon Stewart said it best last night.

Other good stuff in here

EP. 58: The Rise of the Rest