SXSW 2014

There was a time when SXSW was a music event, held over a long three-day weekend at a small handful of bars along Austin’s 6th Street. It’s safe to say those days are long gone. First came the A&R guys, then the Hollywood celebrities, then the technology Demigods and finally, the brands. Liberally sprinkled in along the way and throughout: a potent blend of hipster-types and nerdish online influencers, all of whom were living in the sweet-spot of the key Millennial demographic. Now the prime real-estate has been taken out of the hands of the indie musician and the true marque events all come with a logo attached. It’s no wonder SXSW has become ad land’s near-universal and semi-respectable Spring Break: a chance to hear music, peer at tomorrow’s technology, learn a thing or two about information management and, oh yeah, pull off a major brand activation stunt, all without the worry of dislodging Daytona Beach or Padre Island sand from from your nether regions (or the necessity of working almost exclusively for a Major Beer Label). No, SXSW, for better or for worse, ain’t what it used to be. And we made it that way.