Mr. President SXSW - Tuesday

Day 3 – started off at Frank’s again for mac & cheese with the team, while we talk bats. We put out our first content last night but the crew is here in full now so we’ll be capturing a lot of content from around SXSW today and later a dry run on the bats.

In the best session of the day I meet Frank, and Jon Burroughs; or more accurately Anna Higgs who commissioned Film 4’s soon-to-be-cult-classic film Frank and Hugh Garry from Storythings who has been the voice of character Jon for 6 months.

To say I can’t wait for this film would be an understatement, but Film 4 have always been at the forefront of connecting real-time social channels with their content and I wanted to see under the hood of the “most Twitter-integrated feature film ever”.

The story of the film’s social media development was mindblowing – and the way they have built a narrative across Twitter, Instagram, Thisismyjam, Soundcloud etc over the last 6 months is really cool. Anna and Hugh tracked the story of @jonburroughs83 from enlightenment by Belle and Sebastian to his eventual chance to play for an eccentric band headed by Frank. They shared posts by Jon to celebs, his discovery of music, and his obsession about making album covers out of sandwiches and Skittles on Instagram.

Most interesting was what they plan to do after the film launches, which is so open and free, and involves intense periods of social listening to shape the whole future of the film and its characters. Very brave for a broadcaster and really interesting for an audience. You should all follow @jonburroughs83 to watch his story unfold.


(Frank press shot from hollywoodreporter)

After the session I walked the tradeshow, where every tech company under the sun had a stand. Japan has a wealth of work around different agricultural regions and at Hakkuhodo Kettle I saw Rice.Code, where to publicise a rice-growing region in Japan they planted images (which when photographed worked at QR code vouchers for money off rice) into the fields. Creating a tourist destination and a POS campaign all at once.

In the Japanese area there was also a pool table that projected animations around the balls as they went into the pockets. Great if you want fireworks going off as you pot that yellow. There’s plenty to see here and I leave with a tonne of swag.

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Mr. President SXSW - Sunday and Monday

Mr President are here to do an experimental project for Bacardi whilst here, turning the movement of bats into music. So Sunday starts with a planning meeting where we list out what we need to achieve over the next few days. Then off to Frank’s for shrimp & grits and a bloody mary with the DigitasLBi crew.

(Breakfast with Gareth and Mike from DigitasLBi, and our breakfast bloody mary)


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Mr. President cover SXSW

Day 1 and it’s a flurry of trying to find people. Find keys to rooms, friends and workmates. But by the time I land I only have two hours to be on stage at Hackney House to chair the panel “Who’s Idea Was It Anyway?”.

Run by D&AD and with the support of organisers Human After All, four senior creatives from four countries, and myself, talk about collaboration and what that means for creativity.

After catching the end of the previous talk (around printing and fanzines with Marcus Fairs and others) we start our session.

Fernanda Romano (CCO Naked Brazil), Anders Gustaffson (CD TBWA Media Arts Lab LA), Cyrus Vantoch-Wood (Cheil London), Wesley Ter Harr (Founder, Mediamonks) and myself talked crowd-sourcing ideas, working with 3rd parties and network thinking amongst other things. It seemed to go well, and we certainly got a lot out of the conversation.

Then it was off through the torrential rain to Google’s eco-lodge for a BBQ with DJ BBQ of YouTube fame. All the Googler’s were wearing lycra. The meat was fantastic and it was wonderful to eat something other than plane food after over 24 hours travelling to get here.

(DJ BBQ and I at the Google party)

Then off to MRY’s party to see Reverend Run and finally find those friends… and some truck tacos to finish off a great night.

(Sign in the taco stand window)

Laura Jordan Bambach is a Creative Partner at Mr. President

Brands target our hearts, minds, and tastebuds at SXSW

Many brands know SXSW is a great place to showcase new concepts and educate attendees, but some are also using a mix of traditional and futuristic methods to increase brand awareness. And while we savvy tech folk understand that value of information exchange, we’ve always got a place in our hearts for free stuff. So here’s a rundown of the brands that stood out in my physical and virtual SXSW world.

Free food
You walk a lot here, so you need calories and oh boy do brands deliver.

  • Oreo and Twitter - their partnership of vending/trending drew big crowds. Attendees chose flavors based on “trending” topics, then watched as the printer layered creme, in different flavors, onto the cookies. 

  • Subway - Subway employees strapped brain monitors onto convention-goers and asked them to “think” about their new crispy flatbread, the Flatizza. The person who thought the hardest won some swag.


  • Whataburger - this local burger chain drove a cow themed bus around town, threw me breakfast one day and even had time to re-name the show - apparently SXSW stands for “Somebody buy Some Whataburger.

Free travel

  • If you’re not staying within walking distance, commuting has proved tough going. However Chevy, who has one of the biggest presences at SXSW, were offering free lifts in shiny Chevys all over town. And the digital agency Razor Fish also provided #USEMELEAVEME, a ‘Boris-bike’ style scheme. Nice move.

Free fun

  • German Haus offered some great party nights. And while I didn’t make it to ‘Brain Blast’ to party with PayPal and Snoop Dogg, the event did sound amazing.

Free to create

  • In the land of apple fan boys and girls, Samsung will always need to make an impact. And its incredible tent did just that. It was focused on Samsung’s new music streaming service ‘Milk’, a free service that allows users to tailor their music around genres. The tent also allowed you to make you very own tailored t-shirt, margarita, playlist and taco! However, Becca and Stephanie from our team found the Vine studio the most fascinating, and made this clip with help from the Samsung Gurus:

So my parting thought. Despite the commuting issues, the brand captures the hearts and minds of everyone attending SXSW is the city of Austin. Austin’s generous nature, helpfulness and creative zeal are brand attributes which help the show to be successful year after year.

Richard Stokes, Global marketing and new business director, Maxus.Follow @richardmaxus

Liz’s last blog

Its kind of strange staying on as everyone else heads back to Blighty, however the weather has come up trumps just in time for the music to roll into town, and the changing of the tribes is very evident, skinny jeans replacing Google glass.

This is my final blog for the IPA, so I’d really like to thank them for giving me the opportunity to contribute, its been good to have an excuse to escape the madness for an hour or so each day to pull my thoughts together to write these, and also for organising the nightly get-together at the loft bar, giving us Londoners a convenient base to meet and discuss the days events, as well as planning the evening ahead.

My final day of interactive started with Funny or Die’s ‘how to win the internet in 60 minutes’. Alas they didn’t share the secret of how to create good, shareable content, they just played their videos for 60 minutes. Bit of a shame as I think what they are doing is brilliant, but they failed to even scratch the surface.

Biz Stone is an interesting guy, founding Twitter and now, the app that helps crowdsourse answers to any question. I also liked his analogy of Twitter, and how its shaped modern society - creating something that allows humans to coordinate in real time, like a flock of birds dispersing and re-forming.

The closing remarks by sci-fi writer Bruce Sterling highlighted some of the people he’d wished could have attended SXSW but were not able to make it, including the French polotician Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet or ‘NKM’ who is currently running to be the mayor of Paris. He seemed to be totally in awe of her, so much so it all got a little creepy!

I’m annoyed I didn’t see the final keynote, Chelsea Clinton, but understand it was a fascinating insight into the other side of the internet security and privacy debate which was emerging theme over the 5 days.

One last hurrah with the remaining Brit Mob at Stubbs for the closing party, featuring def jam records, more than one too many frozen margeritas on 6th, nicely rounded up an epic week of learning, laughing and late nights.

Thank you Interactive, and hello music…

Liz Pavitt, Across the Pond. Social video evangelist, social butterfly. @lillyponder

Make the most of what you’ve learned to do good

The last day of a trip is always a bit strange as you count down the hours until you need to leave, panic about getting to the airport and worry you haven’t made enough of the trip. A quick spot of shopping on SoCo and on 2nd revealed a different side to Austin that I hadn’t seen filled with quirky memorabilia, great clothes and armadillos. I took a bus, which was an experience in itself.

I unexpectedly stumbled into a talk with Biz Stone on his new project, Jelly, and some stories of his time with Twitter. Presented in an approachable manner, he described Jelly as ‘not computer-y but more people-y’, again leading me to see that all roads lead back to people.

Biz was followed by Chelsea Clinton (who I later bumped into at the airport, swiftly followed by Alex Karpovsky from Girls. Celeb spotting has totally been a thing here. Did I mention Juliette Lewis, Zac Efron and Jarvis Cocker?). Chelsea’s keynote was preceded by a word from Hugh Forrest, director of SXSW Interactive, who hoped the festival had shown us ‘the power of technology to level the playing fields between the haves and have nots’. A similar line to Chelsea’s talk: “technology empowers people to do good”. She asked us: “How will you use your channels and power do good?

Someone asked a question about not knowing where to start. Her advice was sensible and sound –

  • Ask yourself what makes you angry / what do you think is unjust?

  • Decide if you’re in a situation to do something about it

    Look for companies doing something about it – and doing it well

    If you’re motivated - act now. “Inertia is a powerful force”

A powerful end to an unforgettable five days. I’m now on the flight, overwhelmed with thoughts about what I’ve learnt, how it all links together and how to keep us this momentum and make a change using the knowledgeable I’ve acquired. But for now, I think I’m going to watch Gravity – space has been an important theme throughout SXSW!

Recipient of WACL Future Leader Award, Nicola is using the bursary to fund her trip to SXSW. An early adopter in every sense, Nicola will use her knowledge to help drive the lifestyle agency GR Life (part of Good Relations Brand Communications, a top 10 digital PR agency). Follow @NicolaHamilton@GR_Life