Leis, Ice Cubes and Finger Puppets

leis.jpg Waiting in line for over an hour to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall at the Paramount, girls in hula skirts braved the chilly weather to go around and lei all those waiting in line. When the movie was over, I was completely surprised to see not one lei lay on the ground … and I even saw leis out much later last night. Maybe I’m an oddity and I just don’t like wearing the swag, but it appears everyone else loves leis.

We headed to PhizzPop where there was some serious branding going on! There were interactive kiosks where you could vote on the best design in an interactive design competition they were hosting, and the bar’s flat screens were all hosting demonstrations of the different projects. People were mesmerized when demos came on—they just sat wherever they were and watched. PhizzPop also had an open bar, a signature drink (red bull & pop rocks), light-up ice cubes, and branded cocktail napkins—if unoriginal, at least it’s smart marketing, since many people are at a party just for the free booze. And the light-up ice cubes made it into our drinks at the next party, where PhizzPop got some publicity from people asking us where we got the ice cubes. drinks.jpg

Next, we went to the Facebook party, which billed itself as “Facebook Friends.get party @ SXSW 2008.” Participants could only sign up via Facebook, and I met at least one guy who signed up for a Facebookaccount just to snag an invite to the party. An email sent to registrants said: “Priority admittance will be given to people on our attendee list. Folks with a SXSW conference badge will be admitted as well, as space allows.”That is absolutely genius. Because Facebook users are likely to be the younger crowd that can’t afford the badges, they are placed above the arguably more professional badgeholders. This makes the Facebook-only crowd want to come to the party—and makes them feel like they are truly valued as members of Facebook.facebook.jpg

The party also had a very subliminal-message type screen that kept repeating mantras like “Facebook is a part of our daily lives,” and “Facebook is our social utility.” Facebook is a part of my daily life and I do use it as a social utility … so there may be a correlation between the sentiments, but not causation.I found one interesting item when I randomly walked into the NXNW party – this little monster finger-puppet on the ground. I started to play with it, and it attracted tons of attention. Everyone wanted to know where I got it so they could get one too … so to whoever out there brought the monster finger-puppets: put your brand name on them! Or is the monster the brand?

puppet.jpg

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SXSW is an Austin event. And Door Number 3 is an Austin advertising agency. We're interested in how new ideas in advertising, media and branding will be presented during these 9 quick days. From inside the lecture halls where top specialists present their thoughts, to out on the streets where advertising is put to the test on tens of thousands of festival-goers. We'll be there with the complete coverage, reports, photos, editorials, and perhaps some tricks on how to sneak into a few sweet afterparties.

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