SXSW was more branded than ever this year. Since customer experiences are becoming more important than the actual products; companies now have to consider how products and services enhance specific lifestyles. Brands took over SXSW Interactive with their activations, each hoping to give consumers of a generation that defines everything radically different than the previous generations, a unique brand experience.
Here’s a recap of some of the experiential marketing efforts at SXSW Interactive to give you some inspiration for client branded events or even your next tradeshow display.
For the Budweiser Beer Garage they created a 4-D Immersive Reality Budweiser Brewery Tour. Attendees strapped on a VR headset and were transported to Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis facility where they went on a multi sensory journey, getting to see, hear, smell and taste how Budweiser is made. (Photo via Instagram by brianberner)
The McDonald’s Loft was not just a place to make your own custom burgers and sundaes courtesy of the brand. People were asked to decorate the inside of a Happy Meal box using VR paint tools, which showcased the gaming application of VR, at the McDonald’s Loft at SXSW. (Photo via Instagram by tartargabor)
Festival goers could try their hand at do-it-yourself printmaking and pop-up cards. They could also learn about lettering techniques from an American Greetings’ artist, get a selfie stitched with thread, fill in a giant coloring-book mural, or create an analog GIF through a typewriter. (Photo via Instagram by amgreetings)
Of the many exciting brand experiences IBM Research offered during interactive (they also offered a VR bike ride through the countryside) attendees seemed to be buzzing the most about their cognitive cocktails – a personalized drink experience powered by Watson. (Photo via Instagram by ljin618)
Gatorade transported SXSW attendees inside its Gatorade Fuel Lab, a real facility in Barrington, IL, where athletes and Gatorade scientists work together to create the ideal sports drink formula. People were invited to custom make their own Gatorade using “sports fuel” pods that just need to be added to water. (Photo via Instagram by
The hit show of last summer is currently on a huge press tour promoting the second season. USA Network’s activation featured a Coney Island-inspired 10-story, 100-foot Ferris wheel right in the heart of downtown. They also set up a hacker lounge, mirroring the series’ hacker group F-Society’s lair. (Photo via Instagram by matthewayoub)
Sometimes providing a good brand experience is all about going back to basics. At an event as big as SXSW, which requires heavy social posting and juggling events and meetings, your phone is your lifeline. OrigAudio understands this and leveraged it by offering a charging station (using their own product) that kept visitors alive while showcasing their other products. (Photo via Instagram by OrigAudio)
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