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.”