Now in its 25th year, SXSW hit the big time in 2011, thanks largely to the interactive portion of what was traditionally a music and film festival. An estimated 30,000 people ‘checked-in’ to Austin in an attempt to discover the very near future of the interwebs, and it felt like most of those people were in marketing.
If proof were needed that the web is mainstream news in America (at least), the festival’s major sponsors were a car company and a soft drink manufacturer. CNN set up a broadcast facility across the road from the convention centre for the week. The Guardian UK also sent a team to produce a special lift-out news section dedicated to the event. Conan O’Brien reportedly did a couple of shows live from ‘SouthBy’. Ashton Kucher showed up, presumably to make it even easier for people ‘on the Twitter’ to follow him.
Where the brands, the broadcasters and the stars go, the ad agencies surely follow – myself unashamedly included – to see what they can learn (or steal).
This videoblog series explores “10 things agencies can learn from SXSW” and is taken from a presentation I gave @ Ogilvy House, Sydney, recently. The first episode gives a background to the event and a look at the “mainstreaming” of digital in the American marketing landscape.
Ready for the next episode? Lesson 1 – How to think like a software company.