The first thing we did when getting back to sunny St Leonards was to host a SXSW PopUp Gallery here at Ogilvy House.
We plastered the walls with large-scale printouts of the ‘visual facilitations’ from the brilliant OgilvyNotes project, added our own photos, definitions of new buzzwords and vocab, flyers, posters and stickers. This gave people a sense of the sheer scale of the event and the depth of the content on offer – over 700 individual presentations, panels and keynotes were scheduled over the 5 days and attendance was guesstimated to be around the 30,000 mark.
We also created a Business Card Tree, made from the collection of cards we were handed over the festival – it was kind of fun to browse the collection to see if I could actually remember who these people were and what we might have talked about. It certainly gave a sense of the types of people who were there and the companies they represented: basically everyone.
A collection of swag*, including t-shitrs, wristbands, caps and other giveaways was complemented by the official programs, brochures, newspapers and handouts that seemed to accumulate in your backpack like barnacles, no matter how hard you tried to stay paper-free during the event.
On a lighter note, a small celebrity sightings gallery featured imeges of Ashton Kutcher, kanye West, Michael Crea, The Foo Fighters and more, all of whom made various appearances around Austin. To keep the vibe authentic, we also trucked in a load of delicious tacos from Guzman y Gomez, a case of Miller genuine Draft (served from a cooler, Salt Lick-style) and kept the tunes humming with Texas-soaked alt-country faves like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Lyle Lovett and Jim White – with a few bonus Foo Fighters tracks for good measure.
What’s the takeout? We learnt a ton of new stuff (including the fact that someof the old stuff is still pretty good), met a ton of new people and have a tone of new ideas worth sharing. And we’ll be doing just that, by delivering a series of presentations to the agency (1o Things Ad Agencies Can Learn From SXSW) and to our clients (Get Ready To Gutenberg: Why your Brand’s Future Is In Publishing) over the next few weeks.