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SXSW 2014: Experiential Marketing Audit


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In addition to producing experiential marketing activations for PayPal and ExactTarget, the PBJS SXSW team visited as many booths, buses, domes, lounges and parties as we had energy for. Here's what worked, what failed and where we saw opportunities for improvement.

Published in: Marketing
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SXSW 2014: Experiential Marketing Audit

  1. 1. MSLGROUP | PBJS Experiential Marketing at SXSWi Presented 3.19.14
  2. 2. MSLGROUP | PBJS Who Attended Source: 2014 SXSW Marketing Prospectus 30,000 people who look like this. Under 21 1% 21-34 47% 35-44 34% 45-65 18% 65+ 0% AGE 1st Year 52% 2-4 Years 31% 5-9 Years 11% 10+ Years 6% YEARS ATTENDED International 20% Domestic 80% GEOGRAPHY Under $25k 5% $25-50k 10% $50-75k 14% $75-100k 13% $100-150k 23% $150-200k 35% HH INCOME Industry 75% Fan 25% INTEREST IN SXSW Sales 10% Marketing 15% Biz Dev 8% Creative 22% Management 23% Other 22% JOB FUNCTION
  3. 3. MSLGROUP | PBJS Who Showed Up
  5. 5. MSLGROUP | PBJS Spotify House •  Location was outside of usual SXSW activations with both indoor and outdoor spaces •  Interactive –  Touch-screen music trivia game tables (we lost every time) –  Listening stations •  Photo booth created playlist mosaics with your photo. Large display outside of “booth” and the playlist was emailed to you •  Signature free drinks & food truck •  Outdoor concerts & indoor DJs
  6. 6. MSLGROUP | PBJS Mashable House Partners/Sponsors: •  Friskies – Grumpy Cat Photo Opp •  Mastercard – Priceless Surprises Twitter Vending Machine •  HBO Silicon Valley – Juice Bar and Nap Pods Other experiences: •  Giant projection of real-time content with #MashSXSW by Mass Relevance •  Mashable Gallery •  The Easter Egg, hidden speakeasy
  7. 7. MSLGROUP | PBJS SAMSUNG Music Lounge •  Customized juice drink based on mood (tablet with questions) •  Use Galaxy tablets to design a t-shirt •  Free swag for interactions/Samsung owners –  Speakers, headphones, sunglasses, etc. •  “Rent” a device for 24 hours –  Phones, tablets, smart watches •  Yoga & Crossfit classes on the roof •  Vine video booth Other •  Tweet #poweron for battery swap anywhere around SXSW
  8. 8. MSLGROUP | PBJS American Express Serve Station •  Consumers tweet for a treat at station: Daily “good” included: 10-min massages, juice, blow out & shaves •  Each #ServeSomeGood tweet = $1 donation to United Way
  9. 9. MSLGROUP | PBJS Trending Vending with Oreo •  Using the same technology as 3D printing, custom orders were created to order based on trending topics on Twitter •  Activation space was created using a shipping container, and included the vending machine, a milk bar and a DJ •  Cookies took about two minutes each to make, which created a long line – and a lot of buzz
  10. 10. MSLGROUP | PBJS Subway •  Subway had two footprints – one inside the Convention Center and a larger footprint outside •  Inside, they hosted a game that tested your concentration by “measuring brain waves” and pitted you against an opponent in a mental tug of war •  Outside was a more standard space where they hosted content, like Zac Efron and Seth Rogan to talk about their upcoming movie •  While neither activation was amazing, the locations were great and the fact that they pointed to each other was smart
  11. 11. MSLGROUP | PBJS Spredfast Girl Talk Concert •  Spredfast (a B2B social media management company) hosted a Girl Talk concert at Stubb’s •  SXSW’ers could win tickets by –  Entering a Twitter sweepstakes –  Attending an open house at Spredfast’s downtown office –  Spotting their street team and getting a token •  Good mix of online and offline promotion and content
  12. 12. MSLGROUP | PBJS 7 Eleven #gimmepizza •  7 Eleven delivered pizzas to SXSW attendees that tweeted @7Eleven using the hashtag #gimmepizza •  The pizza box included instructions to post a selfie •  Pizzas were baked in two food trucks that were debuting the newest flavor of Slurpee, Diet Coke •  “This was the best thing that happened at SXSW, ever.” – Brad Murrell
  13. 13. MSLGROUP | PBJS Nespresso •  Created a high-end coffee bar feeling within a dome tent shaped like their new pods •  Touchscreen experience guided the user towards the coffee that was right for them •  Brand ambassadors dressed as baristas prepared the coffees – created in clear, disposable cups so attendees could see the foam
  14. 14. MSLGROUP | PBJS THE STRAIN •  “Transformation Station” to tease the upcoming show •  Included branded energy drinks, water, and an alarming number of eerily calm brand ambassadors •  “Nap pods” could be reserved online for 20-minute intervals where attendees could lay down and watch a sneak preview of the show
  15. 15. MSLGROUP | PBJS 3M idea exchange •  Highlighted innovative ideas from different industries –  Packing tape artist –  Post-It Notes and EverNote partnership –  3D Multi-touch displays •  Charging stations •  Daily happy hour with free cocktails and cupcakes
  16. 16. MSLGROUP | PBJS CHEVY Test Drives •  The latest Chevy models were onsite and available for test drives –  I drove the Volt, which was cool but SXSW is not the best place to test drive a car since there’s tons of traffic and pedestrians –  Free t-shirt for test driving them Catch a Chevy •  Offering rides to people between sessions
  17. 17. MSLGROUP | PBJS Gaming Expo Real-Life Mario Kart by Pennzoil and Nintendo •  Pennzoil set up a go-kart track where attendees could play a four-lap, real-life version of Mario Kart, including “power ups” •  Also offered a Go-Pro video of your actual race to share on Facebook and other social networks DIY Drones •  Booth that demonstrated the processes and materials needed to build an airborne quadcopter •  Participants were even able to take the drones out for a trial run
  18. 18. MSLGROUP | PBJS GuerRilla Tactics •  SXSW is really strict with what non-official sponsors can do, so most guerrilla tactics were limited to strangely dressed brand ambassadors yelling at people •  Photo opps were big. And not always rational. Here’s what preceded this photo. –  “It’s a rock and roll gorilla. Will you hold it?” –  “Umm...OK.” –  “Great. Here’s where you can collect your picture.”
  19. 19. MSLGROUP | PBJS After Parties •  SXSW hosts a variety of parties often offering free drinks and live performances •  Brands often use social media as a way to spread the word and offer VIP pass giveaways and contests •  Parties offered well-known artists, Photo opps & swag (glowsticks!) •  LINES! LINES! LINES!
  20. 20. MSLGROUP | PBJS AWESOME Oh yeah, and there were these PBJS WORK AT SXSW ACTIVATIONS
  21. 21. MSLGROUP | PBJS •  Took over popular downtown Austin restaurant •  Created space to relax, recharge and refresh •  Space included charging stations, complimentary drinks and a healthy snacks •  Each afternoon, ExactTarget energized attendees and the Orange Oasis with a Happy Hour compete with DJ Photo Photo Photo ExactTarget Orange Oasis
  22. 22. MSLGROUP | PBJS PayPal Social Media Lounge •  PayPal partnered with TechSet to sponsor the Social Media Lounge inside the Convention Center •  The space offered work stations, refreshments, content, and daily acoustic performances •  Consumers were encouraged to download the PayPal app in order to order coffee and swag within the space
  24. 24. MSLGROUP | PBJS Mo’ People, Mo’ Problems Attendance at SXSWi has tripled in five years – and this is just the numbers for the interactive portion. This influx of people causes: •  Long lines for everything •  Gross bathrooms •  Traffic 10,741 14,251 19,364 24,569 30,621 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 Year by Year SXSWi Attendance OPPORTUNITY: Android offered its users branded line-placeholders, who they could text and ask to stand in line for them.
  25. 25. MSLGROUP | PBJS Transportation Short-distance transportation needs are addressed with branded pedi-cabs, but since people have to stay miles from downtown Austin, any kind of transportation to and from the Convention Center is a nightmare. Cabs are impossible to get, and the official SXSW shuttle can take up to an hour to complete its loop. OPPORTUNITY: Branded shuttles that can be reserved and scheduled online before SXSW begins.
  26. 26. MSLGROUP | PBJS Phone Battery DEATH Many sponsors offer charging stations within their activation space, but everyone’s phones are still at 10% battery for much of the time – in which case they are desperately looking for an outlet. OPPORTUNITY: Charging stations. Mobile chargers as giveaways and/or prizes. Samsung will deliver extra phone batteries to people who tweet that they need them.
  27. 27. MSLGROUP | PBJS FOMO There are so many sessions, and so much to see and do, that you feel as though you are almost always making the wrong choice. This is made worse by the fact that anything with buzz around it has exceptionally long lines – which means that to be in that session or eat that 3D-printed Oreo, you must forego other experiences. OPPORTUNITY: Curated tours of SXSW with reserved times to see specific activations. App that makes session recommendations based on interest.
  28. 28. MSLGROUP | PBJS Tech Overload Warning: Andy Rooney-like rant below Technology, as it turns out, can bring out the worst in us. I started keeping track of the number of people who walked directly into me while on their phones. Total: 9. People waited for hours to get into sessions, then spent those sessions staring at their phones. By the end, I wanted nothing more than to throw my phone out a window. But then how would I tweet about my decision to give up technology? OPPORTUNITY: Digital Detox Lounge where attendees can schedule meetings or just come in to relax – but must surrender all phones and computers (to be charged) at the door.