SXSW - Successful Branded Events

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SXSW - Successful Branded Events

Some of the most talked-about and popular brand activations at SXSW Interactive 2018 include Herbalife Nutrition's Fit + Fuel Station, HP and Intel's Digital Artistry House, and Bumble's "Empowering Connections" event. Below are the details of each brand activations, as well as the strategy used to identify these activations.

Herbalife Nutrition's Fit + Fuel Station

  • Herbalife Nutrition set up a Fit + Fuel Station from March 9 to 18 at the SXSW 2018 Conference where attendees could relax and refuel with a selection of healthy snacks and beverages, as well as partake in some of the engagements they have set up for their booth.
  • Independent distributors of Herbalife Nutrition were on-site throughout the conference to answer questions and inform attendees about the mission of the brand and give them personalized product suggestions, essentially guiding them through the Herbalife platform.
  • Aside from advice, attendees could also grab free, full-sized protein shakes, teas, or aloe drinks. They had also set up a seated charging area with free WiFi.
  • A key element of the Herbalife Nutrition booth were shareable moments in the form of a photo opportunity with a branded ball pit and one with Cristiano Ronaldo, and a chalkboard where attendees could write inspirational messages.
  • Because of Herbalife Nutrition's activities in SXSW 2018, they ranked 2nd overall in mentions and conversations on social media over a two-day period during the event.

HP and Intel's Digital Artistry House

  • On March 13, HP and Intel took over the Austin restaurant Icenhaur on Rainey Street and transformed it into a Digital Artistry House for SXSW 2018.
  • Inside the Digital Artistry House, attendees could grab a cocktail, interact with different products and even enter an on-the-spot digital art contest. Guests can also have their portraits done by artists, take a photo, and using AI, have them turned into works of art or laptop skin designs.
  • An Adobe expert was also present to demonstrate and give advice to guests who want to improve their creative tech skills. A panel of creative speakers was also present throughout the day such as Peter Rubin, the Pop Culture editor for Wired, and Kate Swanborg, SVP-Technology, Communications and Strategic Alliances at DreamWorks Animation.
  • All activities made use of HP products, specifically their Z suite of products from the Zbook X2 tablets that their artists are using to make portraits for the attendees to the Z 3D Cameras that were used to allow attendees integrate real-world objects in virtual 3D.
  • HP and Intel's Digital Artistry House garnered over 2 million impressions on social media and attracted 5,327 attendees during their one-day engagement blitz.

Bumble is "Empowering Connections"

  • Bumble, a female-first social networking app, held a two-day activation event from March 9 to 10 for SXSW 2018 called "Empowering Connections." This event featured speeches from prominent female personalities, dating profile advice, five-minute first dates and other activities.
  • The event's programming was anchored on discussions around gender equality with speakers such as actress and activist Gina Rodriguez, author Keke Palmer and Whitney Wolfe Herd, the CEO and founder of Bumble.
  • Attendees could participate in The Elevator Pitch where they are given one minute to pitch their business idea to win a $5,000 grant as well as a mentorship.
  • The event was decorated with "Instagram-worthy" spaces where attendees could take photographs for their Bumble profiles.
  • Social media impressions for Bumble's "Empowering Connections" event performed well with one of the speaker's Instagram post about the event reaching over 250,000 likes.

Research Strategy:

To determine the most talked about brand activations at SXSW Interactive 2018, we looked through articles and news releases from industry-relevant websites, such as those focused on marketing and advertising, for brands who participated in the SXSW Interactive Festival in 2018. We defined "most talked about" as those brand activations that were mentioned throughout multiple articles that talked about brand activations that stood out throughout the SXSW Conference. We made sure that the brand activations mentioned in this request are those that had the most coverage by marketing and advertising websites.

  • "Thousands of people lined up at trendy Austin bar Icenhauer at SXSW 2018, but they weren't waiting for a refreshing handcrafted cocktail or finger food. Instead, they were trying to get into HP and Intel's "Digital Artistry House," where a handful of artsy demos were set up. And from a quick glance around Rainey Street's other brand-dominated establishments, no other spot was as hot as Icenhauer. "
  • "According to HP, close to ten thousand people came through the Digital Artistry House, taking part in activities ranging from an AI portrait generator and an on-the-spot art contest to a series of panels. I was surprised at the amount of people that turned out, to the point where I felt bad cutting ahead of the dozens of people waiting in line under the sun to get in."
  • "HP itself publicized the event through "key influencers and partner companies via social," SXSW's social opportunities as well as "geo-target(ing) via Twitter and Facebook.""