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SXSWi

Op-Ed: Confessions From a SX Virgin

sxsw2014

We will conclude any and all SXSWi 2014 coverage with this final installment from Randall Stone, director of experience innovation at NYC-based brand strategy/design shop, Lippincott. Here’s yet another view from the grounds at the event in case you missed out on the affair. Take it away, sir.

Wow. “South By”, as I quickly learned to refer to it as, was a true experience. And, why shouldn’t it be? It combines intelligence and brilliance with casual unsophistication. It is a dynamic event unlike any other – an intellectual party of sorts – most definitely not a conference, yet way more substantive than drinks with strangers. It uniquely combines relevant and just plain interesting insights, the Austin backdrop and thousands of people who care about what you do.

You don’t “do” SX. It’s too big, too sprawling, too diverse. You experience it. You have to come to Austin, let go, and hand yourself over to friendly people with whom you enjoy talking. You can’t attend. You have to participate. And, isn’t that what any great experience is? A two way encounter of surprise and delight. Our world is not siloed or linear. We like liked-minded people, but none of us are exactly alike.

Despite running on empty, you keep running. And, why not? Inspiring sessions from the most unlikely sources keep you stimulated, unique brand experiences keep you on your toes, food trucks keep you satiated, Lone Star keeps you hydrated and the parties and networking keep you social and awake. At SX, be prepared to be entertained to the point of feeling guilty and to embrace a spirit of sharing, networking and learning unlike any other.

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Op-Ed: Three Simple—Yet Impactful—Takeaways From A SXSW Free Agent

davidtrahanAfter attending SXSWi for three straight years, we skipped the 2014 installment, so we decided to pass the mic to someone who was actually on the grounds and could provide some thoughts on this year’s event. Ladies and gents, meet David Trahan (@brooklyknight), a senior strategist at New York-based MRY. In case you were wondering, he specializes in brand strategy, digital, and consumer behavior and nerds out over airplanes, politics, and architecture. Take it away, sir.

SXSW was a playground for me. I won the trip as part of an internal MRY contest to send three employees to SXSW. I had the luxury of doing whatever I wanted (including sleeping in) with no formal responsibilities such as client schmoozing or attending certain sessions. I used this freedom as an opportunity to not only listen to panelists, but to observe the behaviors of SXSW goers and how they reacted to panels, brand installations, start-ups, and parties. I also ended SXSW as a part of the “The Story of SXSWi 2014: Eye of the Beholder” session recapping trends from SXSW 2014.

My key takeaways are as follows:

1. Curiosity > Information

Inspiring curiosity is the ultimate form of empowerment. You know the saying: give a man a fish, teach a man to fish… What I learned at SXSW is that there’s more bounty in inspiring that man to learn how to fish on his own rather than teaching him yourself. It not only instills in him a greater sense of ownership, but it allows for discovery of new fishing techniques since he wasn’t taught someone else’s way of doing things. Marketers often say they want to empower consumers, and their method of doing so becomes tools and information. Those are nice, but do they inspire? That is, do they encourage curiosity that leads to action and discovery?

This is why many of the “how to” panels got bad word-of-mouth reviews. They were just telling people how to do what they already know, focusing on the seller’s technique and not the buyer’s imagination.

As Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson said, “To feel knowledge makes you take ownership of knowledge.”

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Pair of Moxie Dustins Tracks SXSW Via Customized Site

DXDT

A pair of creative lads from Atlanta-based Moxie, both of whom happen to be named Dustin — Dustin Thompson and Dustin Thomas — are documenting all things SXSW with a customized site.

Dustin and Dustin are also tracking their SXSW adventures using the #DXDT hashtag, if you care to follow along on Twitter. If you’re at SXSW, or you just want a fun way to catch up with what’s going, their site is a fun way to keep tabs on the action. They even have a SXSW Google Glass count. As the pair puts it themselves, “It might get weird — so weird you’d swear you were there!”

Zambezi Creates ‘SXsports Playbook’ to Help Navigate SXSW Events

ZambeziThis year, for the first time ever, there will be a sports component to SXSW in Austin, Texas. To celebrate this, and to help festival goers select from the seemingly endless list of panels, LA-based sports and entertainment creative shop Zambezi created “SXsports Playbook.”

SXsports Playbook is a website where visitors fill out a survey of 12 either/or questions. At the conclusion of the survey, users are “directed to one of five curated panel groupings comprised of a ‘must-see’ sports lineup to suit their individual interests (and maybe even an option to avoid them altogether).” It’s a formula we’ve seen plenty of times before, but this time it just may end up being useful for those caught navigating the labyrinth of events at SXSW. Give it a try for yourself if you’re headed to SXSW, and stick around for credits after the jump. Read more

Lowe Campbell Ewald for SXSW 2014: ‘We’re Moving to Detroit and So Should You’

After a change in leadership and rebrand earlier this summer, Lowe Campbell Ewald is putting their weight behind the bankrupt city they call home: Detroit. Creative Director Iain Lanivich says, “Does it bother us that Detroit went bankrupt? Not really. What matters is that it’s rich in creativity, innovation, and inspiration. So come join us…in defining the future of Detroit.” Next year, Campbell will move 600+ employees to Detroit, though it’s unclear where they’ll be moving from and what other incentives are involved (hopefully a free full body puffer coat for the Michigan winter, at least).

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If You Missed SXSW, Let Havas Recap it for You in Twitter ‘Novella’ Format

Man, wasn’t SXSW Interactive just the best this year? What’s that? You didn’t get to go due to cost or an obligation to do actual work? Well, lucky for you, Havas Media is happily providing what they call a “Twitter Novella” to tell you about all the fun you missed. Because, wow, it was just so much fun, you guys!

I don’t quite knows what qualifies this as a “novella” per se, but I suppose if you have a bunch of character-based Twitter handles using the same hashtag, then that might as well be the definition. Again, advertisers, you can make any unsubstantiated claim about anything you so long as no one makes the claim before you. Bonus points if it’s somehow involved with social media.

Throughout SXSW, Havas sent a team of its employees around Austin to tweet about the festivities as walking stereotypes would. The Hero Worshipper tweeted about celebs, stalking Grumpy Cat to wherever Mashable had a branded tent. The Data Geek quoted Nate Silver and dispensed somewhat useless statistics. The Bar Fly partied and drank. The Cynical tried to be cynical, but found it difficult due to all the fun. The Optimist loved everything. And finally, The Loner tweeted about loneliness.

Put these tweets together, and it’s though you were actually there instead of sitting at your office wondering how people have the time to ignore work for a week. Catch the Havas tweeters in the upcoming sequel “Twitter Novella: Cannes Edition.”

SS+K Creates ‘SX6S’ Highlight Reel

In cased you missed the unveiling of SS+K’s Vine SXSWi search tool dubbed “SX6S,” the agency has rolled out the highlight reel above to give you a feel of the goings-on in Austin this past week. Thankfully, our sort-of ADD makes clips like this quite palatable. Here’s some context from SS+K head of production, John Swartz:

 ”We brought these vines together and edited as you might any montage, or even a music video. But as we did, we realized that the range of vines gave us incredible flexibility in telling the story of the festival. And rather than just play back the videos in sequence, we thought presenting them in a more visually engaging, even frenetic way, gave a better sense of the mania of the festival.
We thought each video was special in its own way, depicting something fun, funny, ugly, embarrassing, interesting, etc. We each had a favorite, and no one vine stood out as the best. Although I’m partial to the monkey.”
We didn’t make the cut in the vid, but Mr. Adrants himself, Steve Hall, did. If you have 100 seconds to kill, view above.

We’ll Do it Live…SXSWi Style: Come Join Us for a Google+ Hangout Chat at 4EST

As we mentioned yesterday via Twitter, we’re doing a Google+ Hangout chat that’s essentially a post-game analysis of SXSWi. Instead of my usual chatter, we’ll pick the brains of the likes of Craig Elimeliah, VP, director of technology at RAPP, and creative technology director, Alexander Rea, who’s worked with the likes of Vitro and Anomaly, to get their thoughts from this year’s event. Watch as it unfolds below.

SXSWi Leftovers: Shaq Leaves Smooth Message for C-E Digital CD’s Wife

Back under gray skies here in NYC, our SXSWi memories wind down today with a little ditty courtesy of the one and only Shaquille O’Neal, the former NBA star/current TNT b-ball analyst and Buick pitchman who, for entertainment sakes, made this call to the wife of Campbell-Ewald group digital creative director, Iain Lanivich. Of course, we’re sure the cheery mood was buoyed not just by the Big Aristotle, but the word that the C-E is on the verge of winning Cadillac. We inquired about this last week, and didn’t hear word, but have been hearing that the Cadillac deal was imminent for almost six weeks. Now that it’s been made public via AdAge and others, it appears to be the case, though no one’s talking as evidenced by said trade’s post. We’ve hit the same wall on inquiries, but here’s one interesting tipster’s note, from March 7.

“The only reason Cambell Ewald is moving Downtown is because they are getting the Cadillac Ad account. GM demaded that if they get the account they MUST move downtown. It’s a done deal, the current agency Fallon is located in Minn. and GM is making this move SOON!”

Not sure that’s the “only reason,” but if it goes through, it’s a reunion of sorts between GM and Campbell-Ewald, which as we all recall lost the Chevy business after 91 years in early 2010.

SXSWi Panel: Growing Up in the Age of Facebook

I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to believe that anyone reading this post is actually quite relieved that they didn’t experience adolescence in the world of social media. I was told this past weekend that some AgencySpy readers thought I was in my mid-40s. (Really?) But, I’m in my mid-20s, and much of my time in high school was spent on MySpace, joining Facebook when I first got my college email address.

Though I don’t have kids, I attended a panel about cyber-bullying and social media this afternoon. Admittedly, something I’ve been quite interested in is how people just a few years younger than I am are using the Internet to communicate in ways completely different from me. I’ve never felt older than when I realized instant-messaging wasn’t a thing anymore, and I was totally shocked when the media linked some recent teen-suicides to name-calling on social media. Is social media an actual concern for adolescents, or is the mainstream media just turning the Internet into the villain?

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