The build-out for several major SXSW venues finished Friday. This year the marketing and promotion campaigns seems to be bigger, bolder and in some cases, weirder.
Construction teams scrambled Thursday, dodging rain showers and downtown traffic, setting up more than 100 venues for SXSW. The scene is certainly much different from the small festival Dixie Hoffman remembers, although she doesn’t think it’s gotten too big.
“Not for me I live downtown, I don’t fight the traffic, so I love it,” said Hoffman.
One of the best examples for this year's theme of go big or don’t come at all, may be a Ferris Wheel across the street from the Frost Tower. It’s for USA network's TV show, Mr. Robot, which is set at an old carnival.
"This was a big series for USA, it won best new drama at the Golden Globes so they wanted to celebrate that and come make a statement,” said site supervisor Sarah Cammack
A religious statement is not what’s being made at 4th & Rd River. An upside down church is for Seth Rogen’s new show "Preacher." The over the top display rivals the Game of Thrones venue HBO is setting up in the old Antones music hall. AMC Senior V.P for Promotions Activation Theresa Beyer agreed a lot of what’s going up may reflect the rebound from the recession.
"But on the other hand no matter what the economic times are like how can you ignore SXSW, how can you ignore what’s happening here in Austin everyone comes down and we need to be a part of it and we need to be in front of those people so yes were are going to spend the money and come out here in a big way,” said Beyer.
Collin Hummel who was supervising a site for 3m says the event has grown into a don’t miss event.
“I think it’s important to show up big at SXSW it’s such an important event for everybody and you can tell from all the different brands and how big everybody is going it seems each year we level up, right,” said Hummel.
Not missing out is why a high-fashion marketing group has taking over the Hanger lounge.
"Technology is sort of the new thing in the fashion realm, so the brands and retailers who are coming here are real excited to learn and talk about technology and how it can help, so this is the perfect venue, place to be doing it at,” said Chelsea Rusch with the fashion program.
Creating destination venues are certainly eye catching. But this is not the only example of wild marketing campaigns being launched this year. One new spin involves tortillas with selfi images on them. The ad firm Archer Malmo selects pictures submitted to a website - and prints them at a food truck near the convention center. That's where Sundance Wolf was going old school marketing with some big stickers. Wolf was working for a business that's focusing its smaller marketing effort old columns and poles around town.
"They don't have billions to back them, they're little people ... that’s where I come in, I help advertise those people who don’t have that chance to be out there for everybody else,” said Wolf.