SXSW. Oh, SXSW. Where to begin? Well, Bob Garfield was there. AgencySpy was there. Ashton Kutcher was there. Twitter Founder Evan Williams was there. iJustine was there. Everyone was there. Some loved it. Some hated it. Some of the content was good. Some of the content was truly terrible. Here, in no particular order, are some of our notes from the five day conference. Not unsurprisingly, most of them do not have to do with panels.
- Sixth Street is a panalopy of late night entertainment. Pizza. Half-dressed women with strange body paint. Hot college women in hot pants and boots.
- Amanda Coolong is in a LOT of pictures.
- The Driskill Hotel is where all the (self?) important people can be found later in the evening.
- The Foursquare guys are really nice.
- Coloblow says poopin' is good.
- Booth babes can be found on the sidewalk.
- Joe Jaffe still never shaves.
- Lisa Bettany and Sarah Austin are really pretty.
- Bob Garfield still thinks the entire advertising business is going to end in chaos.
- Cute dancers dressed in sexy lingerie still the main source of entertainment at ad conferences.
- Allie Sullivan knows how to rock a boa.
- Not all keynote interviewers are qualified to interview.
- Some tables will always hold a special place in the heart.
- Krista Neher never fails to strike a perfect pose.
- In Austin you can find really strange looking creatures on the sidewalk.
- Some people like to wear lettuce on their head during lunch.
- There's always a pretty girl working alone oblivious to all the people staring at her.
- Foursquare was all the rage at SXSW this year. And they had a killer party with Ashton Kutcher in attendance. Now a new, location-based app, CauseWorld, allows you to check in to a box of Tampax. And other products. For charity. So it's all OK.
- YouTube now offers something else to distract us from the video we are viewing: ad overlays.
- In partnership with LookBook, American Apparel has figured out how to pimp itself without resorting to near naked teens in underwear.
It seems there's a lot of negative reaction to this year's SXSW. Revision3's Jim Louderback complains he's been blackballed and wonders why the event still needs panels...even though he snuck in and participated on three. The Huffington Post's Mayhill Fowler says the event has grown too big and lost its edge. ReadWrite Web's Jolie O'Dell wrote a post entitled "Why SXSW Sucks" on her personal blog which now has 127 comments and counting.
In reaction to O'Dell's article, SiliconAngle defended the event in an article entitled Why SXSW Doesn't Suck (and used a picture I took last year thank you very much) citing the fact they got 15 to 20 hours of usable video content from the event.
While I dig myself out from under the onslaught of digiliciousness otherwise known as SXSW, the least I can do is share with you the images from the conferences I've taken to date. There's a lot. There's the pre-show gathering at the Driskell. There's the lingerie-fueled TechSet party. There's the Capybara. There's the Digg party. There's the Tumbler party. There's the Powered Party. There's the Barbarian Group party. There's the Mashable party.
And that's not all. It takes forever to crop/edit/fix a couple thousand images. So when the rest are ready, I'll be sure to share. Oh, and I've got shots of Bob Garfield. And since we're name dropping, there's Mashable's Pete Cashmore, Justine Ezarik from iJustine, Twitter's Evan Williams, Ashton Kutcher (yea, that one), Foursquare founder Naveen Selvadurai, Lewis Howes and more.
Here's everything I've got so far.
On Friday the masses arrived in Austin for SXSW. As is always the case, it was a meet and greet fest of epic social media proportion. Even Robert Scobel is here if anyone actually cares. The panels began at 2PM but most of the afternoon was spent hanging in the hallways meeting people as they arrived.
By the time all that meet and greet was over and lunch was had - at which we waited an hour and a half for our burgers (which were very good) - it was time to start drinking. After all, this is SXSW. Laura Fitton held a gathering at Champions. Jason Falls had a party. There was the TechSet party. The Mix at Six. And a late night, flash mob-style gathering at the Driskill. And that's just what we made it to. There were at least 20 other events going on throughout the city. We're sure the Pastries and Pasties party was good but we went last year.
Did you know if you check in (on Foursquare, that is) to two hotels in one night you earn the Hookup badge? Well, yes you do. Even if you didn't actually hook up. And that's what's so representative of Foursquare's stupidity.
Now, don't get us wrong. We love Foursquare. We're obsessed with it. We check in everywhere we go. It's a game. It's fun. And at SXSW it helps you find out where the people are and where the action's at. So no complaint's from that front. But when you can add your own venues, such as "Missy Ward's Cleavage" (this is true), and have it stay in the system for weeks, it goes beyond being funny. And you really have to wonder about those people with thousands of points. If you do the math, they'd have to traverse the country and check into hundreds of places each week to attain their position in the rankings. You just have to wonder.
In his address during Monday's AAAA's Transformation Conference, Publicis Groupe's Rishad Tobaccowala told attendees the advertising industry needs builders, people with the audacity to "remake industries." He also gave a slap to industry bigwigs when he said, "You came in with dreams, and now you stand with spreadsheets."
He's right. The industry has become a collection of holding companies which function as bean counters. Free thinking and big ideas have disappears. And in their place, the almighty dollar without regard for how that dollar is earned.
Take risks, people. Bring back the big idea. We are a creative industry. We need to be creative. Yes, we all need to make money. But not at the expense of big ideas and great creativity.
- Sexy red dress and YouTube on a horse. Short dress and "more coverage" in the same ad an oxymoron?
- There are a lot of "issues" with flying but Virgin Atlantic thinks it has the answer with its Upper Class service.
- Denny's has apologized for its potato famine ad. There's even a facebook outcry over the ad.
- How not to pitch media. ("I'll honor the fucking embargo")
- Are you an agency in Chicago? Then why aren't you taking part in the Chicago portfolio School's Real Life Ad Contest?
- TokyoGlow is a short film created by Citizen Jones and Industry Films for Los Angeles shoe designer The Generic Man.
- Cathay Pacific wants you to meet the team.
- Here's a couple of commercial from Boston-based MMB for Subway. Bollywood and Egypt. Brand New School produced.
- DC's Gymkhana Two won a One Show Entertainment Award in the Online Branded Entertainment category for its viral videos.
- Using its Facebook fan page with a membership of 3.7 million, Skittles' "Valentine the Rainbow" lets users create a digital valentine for an unsuspecting, hand-picked meter maid, one of the most hated professions in the country and one that deserves some sweet lovin'.
- Registration for Advertising Week 2010 has opened.
- Yea, yea, yea, That Belgian advertising agency strike.
- Check out The Incredibly Boring Web Content Challenge from Captains of Industry. Enter your submission for the most mind numbing product descriptions.
On Monday, SocialFresh held a conference in Tampa at the Doubletree Hotel. There were about 250 attendees or the day-long event. The usual social media-related topics were covered but, more importantly, we all gathered to watch the Super Bowl together Sunday night before the conference began.
Once the conference did begin, keynote speaker Maggie Fox from Social Media Group touched on how her company handles social media and uttered an all-important notion we've said over and over again here: Viral is a thing that happens. Not a strategy. Indeed. While you can certainly plan and make every conceivable effort to enable something to go viral, until it goes viral, it ain't viral.