SXSW 2017: That's A Wrap!
Another great year filled with tacos and tech has come and gone (at least from the marketing side). SXSW, commonly referred to as South By, is a yearly conference in Austin, Texas combined of three parts: interactive, film and music. A few of us from McCann had the opportunity to head down south for the interactive portion, which consisted of panels, keynotes and brand activations.
This happened to be my third SXSW, but it felt really different than the others. In past years, the focus was mostly on technology like AR and robots, and marketing-heavy discussions. This year, politics dominated the festival with companies like the New York Times and personalities like Dan Rather stopping by to talk about news and the current state of our nation. There was also an influx of discussions around the workplace and specifically, women in the workplace, which I was happy to see. As for technology, most discussions centered on chatbots and AI, but there was nothing groundbreaking or new.
My favorite panel featured actors Rainn Wilson and Justin Baldoni called "Shake Up the Industry by Entertaining with Empathy." They discussed starting their companies, Wayfarer Entertainment and SoulPancake, after finding a need for emotional content. Baldoni¹s company is currently working on a series called "My Last Days," which highlights the last few months of peoples' lives who know they are dying. Both men agreed: "a good story well told, can change the world."
SXSW is becoming more about brand activations and less about panels. Brands like National Geographic, Gatorade and HBO set up bespoke experiences, which immersed festivalgoers in their brands mission and product offerings. The McCann team took part in an HBO escape-the-room experience(we got out!) and we went up against each other to see how high and how powerful we could jump at the Gatorade house.
We can¹t wait for next year!