The marketing on the streets downtown has been somewhat subdued this year. Nothing has really blown me a way yet.
Outside of Stubb’s amphitheater was a branded Scion car featuring The Melvins, on the Vice label. Vice has always had a huge brand presence during SXSW, and we have them to thank for turning the streets around our office into a hipster parking lot.
I keep seeing these giant street stickers all over downtown. The website reveals that it’s a cross-promotion between Absolut and Blender promoting a building they’ve rented in downtown Austin to have exclusive-parties.
I’ve been noticing a lot of media companies have teamed up with consumer products this year and are renting spaces downtown. Not far from the “Blender House” is “The Fort,” which is a team-up between Levi’s Jeans and Fader Magazine. And right down the street from The Fort is the Pure Volume House, which is hosted by Pure Volume, a music website, and Virb, a brand new social networking site competing with MySpace. Also earlier today Puma shoes and Urb Magazine combined forces to host a dayshow party at the Beauty Bar.
It’s a strategy that works. All of these music media sites are well-connected in the industry and can get any “buzz” band it wants to play their parties. Combine that with a brand that’s popular with the early adopters and social influencers in the under-30 crowd and you’ve got a party that everyone will be talking about. I don’t know how many times this week I’ve told friends, “I’ll meet you at Pure Volume later tonight.” The brand name is synonymous with the party.
But you still get a few stragglers, like Direct TV, who parked a giant Hummer on 6th street and set up a small table tent with brochures and candy (I had a blue Jolly Rancher). Even though the basic TV package is pretty cheap (40 bucks), no one is thinking about TV this week. It’s all about the music. It’s also my suspicion that a Hummer isn’t the most popular vehicle among the SXSW crowd, who would probably view a Hummer as a status-symbol of the ultra-rich and environmentally unsound (they would be saying this while smoking cigarettes and drinking cheap beer).
When I snapped this picture one of the Direct TV girls, who was very nice, asked if I’d like my picture taken with the Hummer. Umm… no thanks.
posted by Bryan Keplesky