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SXSW: How 5 Movie and TV Brands Went Experiential

SXSW: How 5 Movie and TV Brands Went Experiential


The South By Southwest Film Festival is the perfect time for movies and TV to embrace experiential marketing. For those of you outside of the events and/or marketing industry unfamiliar with the term, it is sometimes known as “live marketing,” “participation marketing,” or “special events” According to Wikipedia, “it is a marketing strategy that directly engages consumers and invites and encourages them to participate in the evolution of a brand or a brand.” As someone who has a passion for events and experiences, this is a must-see to experience at SXSW.

With everything demanding your attention at a large event like SXSW, attendees have to be selective prioritizing unique experiences. One thing I participated in was the Gatorade Combine which was showcased “the future of athlete evaluation” as users compared their athletic ability to professional athletes, which was a fun and humble experience. However, this is a film, TV, gaming blog and not a sports one so I will focus on other experiential campaigns that were activated in Austin, Texas during SXSW. Get ready for some clever ways brands stood out this year.


Better Call Saul’s  Los Pollos Hermanos

My favorite from this year and I have never seen “Breaking Bad” or “Better Call Saul.” I can imagine fans of the series would love this. The pop-up fast food joint was one of the coolest and most talked about branding activations during this year’s SXSW, People waited in line to get into the restaurant and were greeted by friendly staff. Fans were able to try the curly fries and sit in a booth.


American God’s White Buffalo

Fans of the recently launched Starz series lined up to take a picture with a giant buffalo. Festival goers were able to charge their smartphones, obtain some swag from “American Gods,” and take a look at some “American Gods” Snapchat stickers.




Nat Geo Further Base Camp

Geeking out at the National Geographic Base Camp was a highlight. Besides attending a late night happy hour with a band performing, I was captivated by the interactive robotic art which drew pictures


CHIPs on the Street!

To promote the new comedy movie CHIPS, Warner Brothers collaborated with VooDoo Doughnuts. Besides decorating the venue with movie promotional items and a giant wall garnering a lit up American flag, they hosted a very popular, hard to get into party that was packed. Earlier in the weekend, a cool thing they did was place people dressed up as cops writing tickets to festival attendees. I saw them giving a “citation” to a bystander. It was very amusing.


Life VR Experience


Outside of the world premiere of the sci-fi thriller “Life,” attendees were able to experience one of the most intense scenes first hand…literally! More on the fun premiere in a separate post, but players took part in an immersive experience watching the gripping scene with Laurence Fishburne grappling with an alien life force.


Some experiential campaigns at SXSW this year were more effective than others. However, studios are continuing to embrace experiential marketing and SXSW is a perfect platform to garner the attention of Millennial industry taste-makers.

About The Author


Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers working as special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.

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