Normally I’m suspect of big events that are obviously promoting of a particular product. They just seem either a little too forced or a little too much. But I really like this one. Yet another interactive branded experience that I like just as much as Ikea, actually. In fact, I like it a lot more.
The setup Yaris has in conjunction with The Current on 7th and Red River is quite impressive. Taking over an empty parking lot is the Free Yr Radio effort which is promoting independent radio (hence the massive stereo atop some of the Yaris vehicles). There, you’ll find a stage for three days worth of live music, a button making station (find a picture in a music magazine and have it made into a button to sport on your bag or jacket), and a parking lot full of Toyota Yaris vehicles. While the vehicles inside the parking lot are for gazing only, you’ll also find a full fleet of Yaris cars parked on 7th St. When I saw one Yaris, I didn’t think much. But when I saw the fleet of Yaris Shuttles (there were, I think, 7 of them), I had to ask questions.A Free Yr Radio Staff member informed me that anyone who needs a ride can hop in and be escorted to South Congress. How cool is that? Not only is there an entire parking lot dedicated to this event, but the two brands co-oped together to make the experience that much stronger and relevant. While I’m not sure if The Current could actually be heard inside the Yaris (The Current is broadcast out of Minnesota), I think this is my favorite event of SXSW. Normally, this type of sponsorship is reserved for “hipper” car brands like Volkswagen, but with a car as fun as the Yaris (I myself drive an Echo, the previous version of Yaris), it makes perfect sense.