SXSW 2009 Overloads Senses With Awesomeness


For those who have never attended, South by Southwest in an annual conference which focuses on interactive, film and music. For the purposes of the advertising industry, the interactive portion of the show offers a panalopy of insight. And that insight comes not just from the hundreds of panels but also from the people you meet (they are far more diverse than your typical ad conference attendee), the connections you make and the information you glean which is decidedly unavailable at most other industry events.


On a panel entitled, Behind the scenes with Mad Men on Twitter, three of the characters, Cari Bugbee (Peggy Olson), Helen Klein Ross (Betty Draper and Michael Bissell (Roger Sterling) opened up about their involvement in a seemingly well-organized effort to represent the characters of the AMC series Mad Men.

You can read the behind the scenes story here which we wrote about earlier but this gist is it wasn't sanctioned by AMC, AMC sent cease and desists (but later relented) and, to this day, the real world identity of some of the characters are still not known.

Ross encapsulated the effort well dubbing it "brand fiction" as opposed to fan fiction which she claims can greatly enhance and embellish the nuances of a "brand" and build a deeper loyalty.

On a Film panel entitled Case Study: Winnebago Man, the man, the legend, the most eloquent cuss word user Jack Rebney came out of hiding to comment on his new documentary film which is based on his famed 1989 Winnebago promotional video in which he pulls a stunningly eloquent Christian Bale.

On the panel, Rebney, now blind, spoke about the making of the film which documents his life, how the video affected his life as well as the dumbing down of America, the purpose of education ("teaching kids how to think. That's all it is."), off color political commentary ("pretty soon you're going to be eating fish heads and rice"), advice fans should approach his cabin in the woods (they better announce themselves "because if they didn't they'd get shot in the fucking head!"), people's misconceptions about his pit bull, Buddha, "the sweetest, kindest dog that ever lived" and his initial hesitations about working with a young filmmaker.


On a panel moderated by Henry Copland entitled Suxorz: Top Ten Worst Social Media Campaign, Belkin took top honors for its program which consisted of gratuitously planted comments in forums about Belkin products. While the panel did trash social media efforts, the panel took the "learn from your mistakes" approach to educate attendees on what not to do when using social media.

Jolie O'Dell and Violet Blue

Violet Blue summed up SXSWi nicely writing, "Bet you didn't think a web conference could be this sexy. Mostly it was a web marketing dry-hump, but I found the tastier bits, and they certainly found me." Ever so well put.

Jolie O'Dell who traveled to SXSW to do some writing for Adrants also did several interview videos with Dave Evans, CC Chapman, Chris Heuer and Dave Taylor examining how brands can and should be using Twitter. Other videos examine funky geekdom, how not to suck with web design and a visit with the VCU BrandCenter people. You'll see them here over the coming weeks.


OK, enough of that. Let's be clear. Panels, keynotes and networking are just part of the SXSW experience. Parties are where the real action occurs. When the true colors come out. When liquor lubricates the mind. And when truisms are spoken which might not otherwise be uttered. Live it pictorial style here.

If you haven't yet attended SXSW, you need to. Plan for it now. Do whatever you have to to convince your higher ups it's worthwhile. Everything is changing. Advertising is dying. COm to SXS an see where things are going next.

by Steve Hall    Mar-20-09   Click to Comment   

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As cool as South By Interactive is (and I'm a marketing geek) you should go to South By Music. It's even better. The Music Festival begins when Interactive ends, so it's currently underway. And it coincides with spring break at U Texas, I'm told.

Posted by: steve poppe on March 20, 2009 1:38 PM

Oh believe me I will, Steve. Next year. Didn't plan for it this year, sadly.

Posted by: Steve Hall on March 20, 2009 2:14 PM

that heart picture on the bottom is the cutest. if you two ever write a book together, please make that the cover :)

Posted by: Allie on March 20, 2009 2:18 PM

Aw, so cute!

I am still here for Music and still taking lots of pics and vids... And still working on blog entries from Interactive!

Being here for 2 weeks is giving me one hell of a work backlog. But I wouldn't miss it for the world. I do have to say 2 things, though: If you stay for music, make sure you're hanging out with Interactive ppl who are doing the same, so you have some friendship and consistency. And definitely take a "breather day" to get out of downtown and away from the show in between SXSWi and Music.

Off to the ACC again in the beautiful Austin spring sunshine! Don't be too jealous. ;)

Posted by: Jolie O'Dell on March 20, 2009 3:08 PM

Great photo of you Steve, can't wait for San Francisco.

Posted by: Murray Newlands on March 20, 2009 3:47 PM

Steve, Mr.Jim Turner had told me that he had arranged an interview with you in this event.

I asked him to send me the link to this interview and still waiting.

I wished you to mention it here and bring the link to it.

Posted by: Abdol Rahim Mirza on March 21, 2009 9:08 AM

Ahh, so that's who you guys were in the press room!
This was,by far, the best overall conference event I have ever attended. The convergence of Interactive,Film and Music was a perfect blend with top line speakers, and an audience that was made up of the folks you want to, and will, do business with and be speaking to. Worth the money. definitely there next year.
Will be posting a huge lot of photos on a microsite if anyone is interested. Some on facebook now.
Next time I'll be sure to say hi!

Posted by: Damon Webster on March 23, 2009 2:40 PM

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