Everyone and Rolling Stone has published some sort of “Best Of” SXSW list. Let me save you the trouble and just tell you: you can expect the expected. They weren’t handing out originality, with the free schwag, bbq and cigarettes, in Austin this year.
That being said, BRINK has been watercooler-ing our opinions about SXSW for over a week now and we have found some bright spots in this oversaturated media mess. Surprisingly, the things we’ve been jabbering about, no one else seems to be calling much attention to.
Here’s a list of SXSW highlights we think are actually noteworthy:
- 1. Politicians on Meerkat
This sounds like an oxymoron right? And if you’re not familiar with Meerkat it’s only that more confusing. Here’s the deal… Meerkat allows users to tweet live video over twitter. In light of all the political hub-bub around net neutrality and apple deciding to take on the cable industry, Meerkat could be a real game changer. Then you have the politicians who flocked to Austin this year in larger numbers than ever. Donkeys and Elephants alike are in a race to capture the next wave of young voters, so Austin served as a stumping ground of sorts. SXSW was the perfect storm for these two to come together and they did so in a rather big way.
With politicians on social media, you’re bound to expect a few fouls but the success of President Obama’s campaign, Arab Spring, and political hashtags making big waves (i.e.: #blacklivesmatter, #yesallwomen, #bringbackourgirls) this coming together could be huge. Recent studies show more millennials get their news from social media than from anywhere else, so Meerkat promises politicians the front row seat they’ve all been clamouring for. It’ll be interesting to see how fiercely they begin to defend the open internet when they realize they finally have the eyeballs of young people.
Drinking and balance, again, sound like oxymorons. The last time a drunk was able to tow a line, he was likely drinking O’douls and just didn’t know it. Yet, there’s this new emerging trend of yogis drinking and flexing. (I was recently invited to a free drinks and yoga class in black light. I didn’t go, it sounded like sensory overload.) At any rate, SXSW being on trend as it is – had a yoga recovery session booth. I guess the idea in this case was that you came in drunk. Still, could be the next big trend in binge drinking.
- 3. A Corporate Sponsorship We Approve Of
In my last BRINK article, I made a big stink about how I hate when agencies force corporate partnerships. It’s annoying, convinces no one, doesn’t work…blah blah blah. It only seems right then that I highlight one sponsorship at SXSW that absolutely got it right: Windex.
At first glance, this makes absolutely no sense but trust me they nailed; Windex set up a booth that let people charge their phones and clean their screens. If there are two things about music festivals people know, it’s that: 1. Your phone always dies and 2. corporate money is abundant. Windex wasn’t the only sponsor to set up a charging station but what name do you associate with cleanliness above Windex? Which is why I’m sure their booth was packed and their brand elevation was successful. It’s highly likely, I think, that people will reach for Windex the next time they needed to clean their phone.
- 4. Not even going to explain this one. Just watch the video. Trust us.
- 5. DC made it to Tey-has.
It’s an openly kept secret that DC officials threw $350,000 getting the WE DC House in front of Austin’s innovative audience. There’s been a real push to secure the District as the next frontier for tech and thought leadership – a partnership, that I think, makes a lot of sense.
The WE DC House also didn’t neglect to export the heart of DC: it’s music – bringing with them the legendary GoGo band, Rare Essence. This year was the first time a GoGo band was ever accepted to play at the festival, so music lovers were presented with a rare opportunity. No pun intended.
There was also tribute to J Dilla with the “DC Does Dilla” party and Oddisee performed for a bit as well. Maybe this isn’t as huge of a deal as some of the other things that are topping everyone else’s lists but we have an office in DC – so we’re hyped about it.
Rumor has it, Rare Essence shouted out the Redskins in front of a loyal Cowboys audience and lived to tell about. So that’s pretty newsworthy also.
AND we have to drop these in here in case you missed them: