Two weeks ago, we interviewed Media Director and SXSW veteran Rebecca Weiser on what she expected out of this year’s conference down in Austin.
We asked her to take over the DiMassimo Goldstein twitter account – which you can check out here – and share her experience with all of our followers. This year, like all of the others before it, was full of inspiring brand surprises and creative guest speakers. Having been to SXSW six years in a row, she also provided a few pointers and tips for first-time attendees. If you happened to miss her real-time coverage, don’t panic: we’ve got you covered here. Check out a brief recap of her incredible week below:
The Facebook house and the Chips Movie donut shop both had some truly inspiring actions.
As many expected, virtual reality played a major role at this year’s SXSW. Here’s a sneak-peak into some of Rebecca’s favorite VR experiences of the weekend.
Storytelling was a prominent feature in many of this year’s events.
We’re already counting down the days to next years’ event, and as always, we’ll be there!
The 30th SXSW has come and gone, and it’s hard to believe how much was packed into such a short period of time! Just in case you couldn’t make it down to Austin for the festival this year – or even if you did, and felt too overwhelmed to really soak it all in – here’s my recap of South By’s highlights:
Every year, brands flock to Austin to get in front of the 72,000+ attendees, hoping to become a part of their experiences – especially the ones documented on social media. While there were definitely some interesting “brandtivities” this year, the two that stood out to me the most were:
1) United Airlines: For their first time sponsoring SXSW, the airline set up multiple lounges that brought the actual brand experience to the festival by featuring their comfy first-class seats as lounge chairs / recharging stations. The snacks they gave out early in the morning were the same ones they give on early AM flights, in order to showcase the quality of their in-flight service. Finally, they tapped into the SXSW audience’s natural entrepreneurial and tech spirit by inviting them to help improve the United website and app by taking part in their #IdeasFlyHere sweepstakes
2) Casper: Casper also brought their physical brand experience to life by setting up a “napping pod” – as part of their Nap Tour. They added an additional media touchpoint and extended campaign reach by geo-targeting Facebook ads to people in Austin, encouraging them to stop by their “napmobile.”
This was definitely the must-have accessory for every trade show booth this year. Gillette, Las Vegas Tourism, and Samsung all had virtual reality goggles, helping them showcase their brands. The most interesting use of VR, though, was the premiere of the first-ever Virtual Reality Infographic, as debuted by Nowsourcing.
As a Media Director, I’m inherently drawn to ideas that focus on efficiency, creative problem-solving, and leveraging materials that you already have. The startups that impressed me the most were the ones that – rather than reinventing the wheel – utilized resources that were already in existence, and currently being wasted:
4) Roadie: This “on-the-way” delivery Network lets you send shipments with people who are already traveling to a destination, and have room in their car for your package.
5) RoomSplit: This startup is like Airbnb, but for hotel rooms. If, for instance, your SXSW lodging is a really expensive hotel room that has two beds, and you’re only one person, you can find a roommate to split the cost for the duration of your stay.
6) DonateTheBars.com: Whenever you take a vertical-video on your cell phone, the resulting clip inevitably has two black bars on each side. This startup allows users to utilize these black bars in vertically filmed videos by donating them to NGO’s. Watch the video below to learn more.
Lots of brands this year included “inspiration” in their messaging:
7) Pepsi: “Over food and drink, new ideas are born. Join us on the journey. NSPIRE.” – At the Mashable house, Pepsi let people create their own uniquely flavored drinks.
8) Qualcomm: “When will you be inspired by what you can’t see?” – Showcasing an Augmented Reality “Museum of Invisible Things” at theMashable House.
9) Mazda: “Find inspiration at every turn. Driving matters” – At the Mazda Recharging Lounge.
New to SXSW:
This year, SXSW debuted “Featured Speaker Meetups,” allowing eager festival-goers to interact with some of the most notable speakers. I took advantage of this new program and got to spend about an hour speaking in a 1-on-10 group with Kevin Kelly – founding executive director of Wired Magazine – about technology, media, and the future. It was extremely informative, and I will definitely be taking advantage of this opportunity again next year!
Overall, this year’s festival was extremely inspiring, invigorating, exciting, and innovating. Can’t wait for next year – hope to see you there!
-Rebecca Weiser, Media Director
Offlining is becoming a growing trend — online. It was a topic of discussion at the recent tech conference SXSW, where Mark DiMassimo exhorted the crowd to step away from their smart phones. DiMassimo and Eric Yaverbaum are offlining pioneers, having launched Offlininginc.com, a site that encourages visitors to make an “offlining pledge.”
An article this month in U.K.-based magazine Prospect takes a closer look at the phenomenon.
“We have (at SXSW) incredibly smart people, very capable people, very motivated people – and what are we working on? What are we obsessed with? We’re obsessed with engagement, stickiness, gamification, making sure that we’re attracting people to our worlds, engaging them. We are working very very hard at making sure that when people start to interact with whatever it is that we want them to interact with, that they go as deep as they can, stay as long as they can, they come back as much as they can. So there’s this incredible creative energy focused on the “on” button. Where is the business model in the off button? Where is the business model in helping people find some balance?” – Mark DiMassimo, speaking at SXSW.
Mark DiMassimo, C.E.O. of DIGO Brands, participated in a panel discussion at the SXSW Interactive Festival this week, entitled, “Tweeting On Weekends: Are We Becoming Socially Anti-Social?” Mark was there to discuss the insights and inspirations that led him to co-found the Offlining movement in 2010. Check out these beautiful visual notes taken during the forum by illustrator Sunni Brown.