If there seems to be a theme at SXSW this year regarding brands "going big," that theme has played out in the panel sessions as well. Yes, SXSW has a Film component to it at as but until a few years ago, Film and Interactive remained separate. Each year, the two merge closer together. Those of us in advertising, of course, are not surprised. We've been obsessed with celebrity endorsement since anyone can remember.
In a panel called Banking on Big Brands/Celebs for the Web, actor Kevin Pollak, former NBA basket ball player and actor Rick Fox, AOL's Amber Lawson and Innovative Artists' David Tochterman discussed the merits of brands hooking up with celebrities to promote products. With funny asides and a few F bombs dropped in, Pollak brought much needed levity to the panel which was filled with the usual rhetoric regarding celebrity endorsement, product placement and whether or not branded content is an ad or not.
What celebrity endorsement boils down to is simple. And complicated all at the same time. Basically, if all parties involved "feel" the pairing will work, it's a go. There's no science to it at all apart from the fact a celebrity may have an affinity for a particular product which can then be leveraged in an endorsement. And that's really all the hour long panel boiled down to.
We had the pleasure of meeting Fox later in the day when he and his girlfriend, Eliza Dushku attended at Mr. Youth sponsored event at 219 West. He is one tall dude and Eliza is as cute is real life as she is on screen. Sadly, we were not allowed to take pictures during the event.