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.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.
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.