SXSW Comes to an End – What Brands Dominated the 2012 Show?
And it’s official. Another SXSW has come to an end, with SXSW Music wrapping the final leg of the show this past weekend. Now that I’m settled and (somewhat) recovered from Austin and the “SXSW SARS” that promptly ensued, it’s time to reflect on how brands leveraged the show. Text 100’s involvement primarily focused on the Interactive portion of the show, as you’ve seen from our SXSW content hub, so this analysis is centered on SXSWi.
One of the primary reasons companies flock to SXSW is to find “the next big thing.” In 2007 it was Twitter, then Foursquare in 2009, and while there wasn’t a breakout company or technology launched in conjunction with the show this year, from a marketing and branding perspective, SXSW remains a key event to reach tech influencers. SXSW has evolved substantially in the past few years from an event focused on emerging scrappy startups to one in which big brands are equally as eager to make a big splash with influencers and media. What companies were most successful from a branding perspective? Just to name a few…
- American Express was identified by AdAge as the winner of SXSW from a branding perspective. AMEX debuted a new product offering that allows merchants to provide special offers that consumers can redeem by tweeting the offer via Twitter. The benefit to consumers was clear – discounts and deals – and to incentivize people even more, people who synched their AMEX with Twitter could get free JayZ concert tickets.
- Nike has successfully evolved itself from simply being a consumer sports brand (a successful one at that!) to what it’s calling “digital sport.” SXSW served as a successful venue for Nike to promote its FuelBand activity-tracking wristband. Nike leveraged the data from participants using FuelBand to publicize it at SX on a massive LED billboard, and set up a mini state park with basketball hoops, etc to promote its broader Nike Fuel concept.
- And one of my personal favorites – FedEx had human power chargers all over SXSW and corresponding events. I spotted one at the Foursquare lot, providing outlets for people to charge their devices that ran low on battery power. Brand awareness was certainly achieved by providing a necessity for many SXSW attendees.
And what about B2B brands? While SXSW buzz is heavily skewed toward consumer and content brands, below are three examples that demonstrate how some in-device brands did it at SXSW this year:
- Prior to SXSW, Intel sponsored a 3-day DJ battle on Turntable.fm. The winning DJ was awarded an Ultrabook, and DJ-ed live at a joint Intel and Turntable.fm-sponsored party at SXSW Interactive. Additionally Intel sponsored a SXSW Music event, the third annual MOG at The Mohawk with hip hop headliner The Roots that was live streamed on MOG.com.
- NXP, a semiconductor brand that you wouldn’t think would have a place at SXSW, spoke on a panel about mobile payments and a sponsored space in the Alcatel-Lucent Lounge that included consumer-centric demos with NXP’s Near-Field Communication (NFC) chipsets and presentations.
- AMD co-sponsored a SXSW Interactive concert with famed Indie-Film Director Robert Rodríguez, featuring music that was featured on soundtracks of Rodriquez’s films. This stems from Rodriguez’s use of AMD Technology in his films to deliver 3D visual effects.
What brands do you think dominated SXSW this year? Would love to hear from you in the comments section of this post!
Astonishingly the panel entry process for SXSW 2013 is not far away and will open on Monday, June 25. Time to start thinking about next year already…