SXSW starts today and if yesterday was any indication, brands will have the biggest presence ever at the five day interactive conference in Austin. Historically, the gathering has always been for uber geeks and super techies but in the past few years brands have taken an increased interest in SXSW and what it has to offer. Which is a lot. From content, to connections to thousands of impressionable souls, the geekfest is, well, no longer a geekfest. Rather, it's become an full blown marketing event. And not just an industry event either. It's a chance for brands to get in front of actual consumers.
A stroll through the Austin Convention Center and surrounding areas made it clear, the conference is no longer a conclave for widget heads. Oh, they're all still here...and grumbling about the "invasion" of "marketing people" but they, perhaps for good, have been silenced by the deafening size and scope of an increasing number of brands who have decided to stake a claim here in Austin.
From Sony to Samnsung, to Chevrolet to Pepsi and many, many more, the ACC and surrounding areas have been plastered with some of the most elaborate brand statements we've ever seen. Yes. SXSW is no longer the geekfest it once was. And as we've said, it's been heading away from that cute little anachronism for some time now but this year, well, this year the brands have taken over every last square inch of Austin.