Archive for the 'Lyssa Myska Allen' Category

Ray-Ban, Rachel Ray and Fader Forting

So I finally made it in, and the Fader/Levi’s Fort was as cool as everyone made it out to be. The Fort itself had a bunch of different rooms to check out, and that was smart because it encouraged lounging around with some of the Fader magazines laying about. Ray-Ban did a confession booth that also took your picture and printed them out with an access code to see your confession online—that was an excellent way to get people to access the Ray-Ban website.

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Before the Fader Fort, we went to the Rachael Ray Party at Beauty Bar, officially called the Feedback Party Hosted by Rachael Ray. They posted flyers everywhere for that party, but enforced their RSVP list, which made for a long, attention-getting line. Inside they were extremely well-organized and served amazing food while heavily promoting (and pouring) the new Rose’s Mojito mix.My camera was out of batteries, so I couldn’t take a picture, but one of the funniest things I’ve seen at SXSW was a sign outside of a bar advertising “free food, gift bags, and beer,” written in marker on a white paper plate, taped to a parking meter. What?! At least take the time to make a poster at home!Again, not as much schwag today. But here’s a look at the final tally of all the free stuff I received at SXSW:

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Where are the Schwag Bags?

We might have hit a few less parties today, but there also seemed to be less schwag—I saw fewer people on the streets weighed down with bags, and I only came away with two free shirts. One of those free shirts was even designed by me! Alternative Apparel set up a Do-It-Yourself booth where they had plain white t-shirts, fabric markers, and stencils at Orchid.

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We sipped on some free drinks and ate some free tacos and spent a solid hour on our shirts—which is brilliant marketing for the t-shirt company. Not only did we spend an hour with their product, but then we took them home and are going to wear them purely because we made them!Other stops included the Batanga Party at Habana, which was a lot of fun, but I still don’t know what Batanga is. They did, however, follow what I call the Drink Theory of Branding, which means they branded everything that had to with the free drinks they were passing out.

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Other notable sights included: an Izze bike, which made no sense but was painted lime green. I wonder if it stemmed from the Hill Country Ride for Aids and their red bikes all around town, or if that’s just a coincidence?izze.jpg

At the Dell Lounge, which presents a very unified front with the same logo on everything from badges to t-shirts to bags, they featured Blogging Stations where anyone could step up to use the computer. Coupled with good music, free Southern Comfort drinks, and the rare schwag bag, it’s done a nice job of branding itself as a place to be. Paste Magazine was a cosponsor, and they were attempting the Radiohead pay-what-you-will experiment. Which is fine, except that our particular salesperson made sure to outline how much it costs the magazine to print and mail, which was a total guilt trip. If you’re going to offer the deal, take what you get, Paste!

Solar Saucer

So I thought it was a giant sombrero and some visitor thought it’d be an easy way to get gullible Texans over to see whatever it was they were selling, but it turns out that this:saucer1.jpgis actually a Solar Saucer. Obviously I needed to know what http://www.solarsaucer.com is as soon as I got home, so at 2 am I was up exploring the Solar Saucer. Lesson: giant light-up sombrero-saucers are excellent at attracting attention. The real lesson you can take from that? If you can, build a product that sells itself. The whole point of the Solar Saucer is that it’s powered entirely by the sun, so if you have a giant object sitting in a parking lot at night showing how it is displaying light that’s been stored throughout the day, the product really sells itself.We also went to Moby’s CD release party at Vice, which is sponsored by MetroMix LA. Like Amoeba, I can’t help but wonder why a Los Angeles newspaper wants to advertise so heavily in Austin, but it must be indicative of two things: 1) that they have to promote at the big music events not because of the city, but because of the people that will be there who actually do live or visit LA; and 2) that Austin is a really happening place to be if LA has to advertise here!

Partying in a Parking Garage

Myopenbar.com hosted a party at the Texas Garage, the parking garage at the AMLI building. Naturally, it had an open bar—Dewar’s and ginger beer, Keystone beer—and music. Saucony was there playing shuffleboard and giving out “winner”and “loser” headbands, which is really cool because it’s funny, and because people like labels.

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Stella McCartney for LeSportsac was also apparently a sponsor, but there was nothing they were giving out that made any sense, or that was branded at all. They just put out signs that said “LeSportsac” on the tables. Weird.

But the secret to the party was heading upstairs to the very top to the “NYLON/Guess Lounge.” I don’t know why they were sponsoring this, but they had huge floating letters in two pools, which was awesome because they were so huge.

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There appeared to be an indoor lounge too, but I couldn’t figure out how to get in there. There was also a photo booth where you could take a picture and have it print out immediately. On the photo, Guess, Nylon, and http://politeinpublic.com/’s logos were all printed as well. Pretty smart, because I love the photo and will keep it for a long time!

Also, here’s a shot of the Guess pool logo later in the night.

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Swag Attack!

Thursday Afternoon: Swag Stats

Skateboards: 1
T-shirts: 6 – three unwearable large men’s shirts, three small and cute women’s shirts
Bags: 3
CDs: 6
Necklaces: 1
Stuffed animals: 1
Books: 2
Monitor Headphones: 1

The Alternative Press party at Speakeasy’s Terrace 59 turned out to the be the swag bag of the festival so far.

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You know it’s going be good when the ads for the event say “open bar, free food, swag bag.” Walking down the street holding a skateboard (no wheels) and carrying a nice zip-top bag stuffed with crazy things garnered us a lot of attention. As far as branding goes, the Skelanimals brand put tons of good stuff in there, including the skateboard, which made me want to visit online and check them out. I’m not into the company’s products, but because they put so much good, unique stuff in an already good swag bag, I like the company.Next stop was the Filter Magazine party at Cedar Street, because my friend said they had cute shirts last year.Co-sponsored by American Rag, they had cute shirts this year too. Then we hit up The Great ’08 Tailgate at Cedar Door, where we got a bag filled with good stuff. I really liked the logo for the event, and they did a good job of using it on everything—even the cups for drinks! Finally someone wised up to branding the actual vessel out of which you drink!

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At the tables, there were just piles and piles of cards advertising CD releases, parties, music companies, etc.table.jpg

My first reaction was, “this is stupid! That’s horrible branding.” But then I realized that I sat down at the table and flipped through every single one of those cards—and then decided that they were stupid and horribly branded.

Fader Fort Report: Still lines around the corner. We’re never getting in.

Boats & Smokin’

We went on the March Mashup boat cruise, a free-food-and-drink affair Wednesday night. Trying my darndest, I could not find a single reason for it to exist, until one of the founders told me, “we just thought it would be awesome to have a party on a boat, during SXSW.” Well okay.

The sponsors of the event, Red Stripe beer, Hey Cupcake!, and the Daily Juice, were very well-promoted and their products were the only things served, so they certainly benefitted from the event. Daily Juice made crazy – and delicious – cocktails in coconuts, something that was so memorable it makes me want to stop into the Daily Juice to try something in the store. Last night we also went and saw a couple bands at the Smokin’ “place”. I say that because I don’t know what the actual name of it is, but “Smokin’ ______” is written on the side of the building, colored smokebillows out from the roof, you can smoke inside since it’s not technically an indoor venue (which means port-o-potties… ugh), and it’s all sponsored by Natural American Spirit.

You can evenstop by the cigarette “bar” for a fix. If an advertiser can carry out a theme to that extent, it’s pretty impressive. And the smoke is visible for blocks!

On The Streets of the Music Fest

We started the day thinking we’d get to Fader/Levi’s Fort first and move from there, but we arrived at the place to a line stretching down the entire block and a little around the corner.faderline.jpg

That’s some clout. There was also a huge Levi’s sign on the side of the building, but everyone there seemed to know that they were on the list, so word about this event must have spread quickly. The Dentyne Ice girls passed out full packs of gum with music cards on the inside, which was convenient.We headed over to Emo’s for the Force Field PR & Terrorbird Media party, where I saw some brilliant branding: the Emo’s over-21 stamp was the Terrorbird logo!

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Also pretty smart was Amoeba Music’s plastic bags:bag.jpg

They were empty, but people who had been carrying around all the random swag stuffed those other companies’ stuff into their Amoeba Bag and advertised for Amoeba all day.After a walk down 6th Street—with a stop into the Pirate Elvis party with a make-your-own-peanut-butter-sandwich station and free pirate eye patches—we ultimately were lured into Buffalo Billiards Bar by two giant blow-up bottles of Sauza tequila.buffbill.jpg

Inside, we found Austin radio station 101X and some other sponsors had turned this little area of Buffalo Billiards into a sort of lounge, where we scored free shot glasses on a string (handy!) and played Austin Sound’s setup of Rock Band. We ended up staying there, playing Rock Band for 45 minutes before we had to go home.


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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