5 Examples of Effective Advertising at SXSW

Posted by | Conferences

One of the questions we get a lot from clients is, “What can we do at SXSW to generate buzz?”.  Over the few days I’ve been here at SXSW, I have been careful to notice the advertising efforts and consider what seems to be effective at engaging attendees.  This post just reveals 5 of the attempts that caught my attention.

Example 1: Chevy “Catch a Chevy”

This year at SXSW, there were 10 campuses to trek to for particular sessions.  Although my hotel room was within ear shot of the conference center, many of the interesting sessions were 6 blocks or more to get to.

That’s where “Catch a Chevy” came into play. When it was 10 minutes until a panel started, I could walk out of my hotel and jump into one of the free “Catch a Chevy” vehicles parked outside of the convention center.  Not only did I have a wonderful one on one chat with my driver, but I walked away with a positive experience of the brand and the car itself.

Example #2: Where’s Judy?

One unique conversation starter was a simple blow up doll that Sugar Jones from “Sugar in the Raw” carried with her to some of the panels.  This doll has a corresponding Twitter account that was frequently updated with her location and activities.  Although the connection to neerlife (a to-do list geolocation start-up) was a little fuzzy,  it inspired curiosity and conversation with many people in the sessions themselves and allowed Sugar Jones to explain the benefits of the start-up first hand.

Example #3: GroupMe Grill

Right across the convention center, GroupMe established a “GroupMe Grill”, where they were giving away free beer and grilled cheese to those who showed they were using GroupMe.  Not only was this helpful for attendees to grab food between panels, but it required them to actually start using the application if they hadn’t already done so.

Example 4: ImaNeed Superheroes

A small startup, Imaneed.com had two superheroes outfitted with spandex outside the convention center.  As I approached them, they explained their startup was kind of like craigslist but primarily backwards and mobile (you share a need and a business contacts you).  In addition, they handed out a small card with the ability to text your SXSW needs to a cell phone number.  During the duration of SXSW they were going to try to fulfill as many needs as requested. If you needed a beer, they’d show up.  If you needed a ride to a party, they may help you out.  This was a cute idea that tied into their product offering very well.

Example 5: Connect with Chevy Charging Stations

Although I’ve already mentioned Chevy, I couldn’t skip over the Chevy charging station.  Right as you walked into the convention center, they had a lounge outfitted with more outlets I’ve seen before in one place. Compared to other “exclusive” lounges sponsored by other brands, this lounge had people sitting on the floor just to charge up.Additionally, Chevy didn’t just stop there but carried this branding throughout the convention center with “Connect with Chevy” power adaptors that were found at outlets in hallways and other places where attendees naturally hang out after sessions. This is truly taking advantage of forgotten real estate in the conference center that most attendees come into contact with at one point or another.What do you think is some of the best advertising at SXSW this year?  Please share in the comments below.  Also, stay tuned for a separate blog post on what doesn’t work here at SXSW, along with opportunities to take advantage of next year.