#2 How to be Useful.

April 20, 2011 — Leave a comment

Before I say another word, a moment of full disclosure. I’m an Ogilvy employee, have been for years and I went to Southby on the company dime. That said, of all the official agency activities, stunts and campaigns I saw that week in Austin, Ogilvy’s made the most sense. The New York office engaged a team from ‘graphic notation and facilitation’ firm ImageThink to create visual representations of the major panels and presentations.

These colourful, playful one page summaries were photographed, shipped off to a local printer overnight and emerged the next morning at the OgilvyNotes stand as huge piles of takeaway notes for anyone to grab. In a technology-saturated, mobile-app-focussed environment, these low-tech, analogue, paper-based notes were a hit, not for their novelty value, but for their usefulness.

Plenty of other agencies took to the stage, so to speak. Dentsu had a large stand at the trade show focusing on mobile innovation. JWT played caterer by renting a food truck and giving away free BBQ ribs. Sapient Nitro threw a big party on the opening night. Razorfish participated in several panels and solo presentations. The Barbarian Group did both. The only real misstep, in my opinion, was made by R/GA, who launched a mobile game called ‘SXSW Inferno: Welcome to Social Media Hell’ the week before the conference. Everyone I know signed up to play immediately – then quickly discovered the game was ostensibly making fun of them, and never played (or spoke of) it again. Seems you can’t make friends by turning up to a party and laughing out loud at what everyone’s wearing. Check the video for the full rant.

Need to rewind? Catch the previous episode, “#1 How to think like a software company”.

Stay tuned for the next episode when ad agencies learn “Why you should keep on (or start) playing games.”

This video is part of the video blog series  “10 Things Agencies Can Learn From SXSW” presented by Barrie Seppings, Creative Director at Ogilvy Sydney.

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