Keep SXSW Weird (Weekly Roundup: March 13)

Posted by Samantha Stallard on March 17, 2017
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Every Friday, the P2Blog will feature five industry articles that are trending, relevant, shocking, hilarious, or rediscovered. The Weekly Roundup is a curated list of what Pop2Life is sharing around the office - complete with our thoughts and on-point opinions (IMNSHO).

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1. Have a Look Inside AMC's Perfect Replica of Breaking Bad's Los Pollos Hermanos at SXSW


Found in Adweek, written by Alfred Maskeroni 
When it comes to experiential marketing, there’s one place where brands shine—the not-so-little-anymore brand-a-palooza called South by Southwest. And AMC’s Better Call Saul activation is one of the best, most detail-oriented conceptual executions you’ll find.
On this first weekend of SXSW Interactive, passersby arriving at 122 W. 5th Street (on the corner of 5th and Colorado) will find a peculiar and oddly delightful sight—a full-scale replica of Los Pollos Hermanos. The pop-up version of the infamous chicken chain, known for the super-shady dealings made within its walls on AMC’s Breaking Bad, heralds the upcoming appearance of the chain’s owner, Gus Fring (played by Giancarlo Esposito), in season 3 of the prequel series, Better Call Saul.
Complete with a sign-wielding chicken mascot, the beat-up Suzuki Esteem driven by Jimmy (played by Bob Odenkirk), perfectly detailed signage and building facade, the comically earnest pop-up restaurant’s humble footprint is dwarfed by the Austin skyline. Fans, as well as curious people who just wanted a quick snack, queued up outside Friday.
Our take:

Built from the ground up in under three days, the Los Pollos Hermanos building is actually a tent and includes props straight from the Better Call Saul set, including a gumball machine, clock, and Jimmy McGill's car (before his transformation into the infamous and fashionably questionable, Saul Goodman).

The fast food pop up came to life organically, with the highly anticipated return of Breaking Bad's arguably greatest villain, Gus Fring, the owner of the chicken-chain, to Better Call Saul's third season. The restaurant, complete with free curly fries for patrons, appealed to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul fans alike, serving as the link between old and new.

While photos of the activation quickly cropped up all over Instagram and Snapchat, AMC took the IRL brand experience online with the #LPHisHiring hashtag, which customers used to “apply” for a job (which is actually a contest entry to an exclusive autograph signing with Odenkirk and Esposito to close out the activation on Sunday evening).

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2. Chris Hardwick Brings @Midnight to Larger SXSW Audience, Plus Facebook Live

Screen Shot 2017-03-13 at 10.56.35 AM.png
Found in austin360, written by Omar L Gallaga

Most-hosting Chris Hardwick, the stand-up comic, “Talking Dead” zombiesplainer and host of Comedy Central’s “@Midnight,” brought the social-media skewering game show to South by Southwest again, this time to a much larger audience. The comedian noted that last time “@midnight” was here, in 2016, it was at The Parish, it was for about 100 people. On Friday night, it was Facebook Live-broadcast to the tune of about 139,000 views as of this writing and thousands in person at the much-larger ACL Live at the Moody Theater.

If you’re a fan of the Comedy Central show, it was perhaps a slightly looser version of what you’d expect: jokes about some of the best Internet memes and a supremely entertaining panel of contestants, which included Thomas Lennon (“Reno 911!”) as well as stand-up comics Whitney Cummings and Nick Swardson. 

Our take:

Pop2Life and Comedy Central knew the 2017 version of @Midnight Live had to outdo the widly successful 2016 event. Last year, Hardwick brought along friends and show regulars Arden Myrin, Chris Cubas and Doug Benson to compete for POINTS! in front of the lucky crowd of 260 as well as the 15,000+ watching on the official Comedy Central Periscope stream. The show brought in 15,724 Periscope viewers, 72,036 replay viewers, 210,578 Facebook likes, and 297 total comments.

This year, the event was much more than a game show - Swardson and Hardwick each opened the show with a short stand-up routine. There were plenty of Facebook Live-related jokes at the expense of Mark Zuckerburg (including one of him shutting down the feed when creepy eBay doll of him was shown). @Midnight kicked off SXSW Comedy with a bang, and Hardwick consistently maintained the fun vibes throughout the taping, including a really dirty joke about Thomas Lennon and a pair of microphones.

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3. "Promotional Product Problem Solving" with Swagdog's Top Dog

Found in P2Blog, written by Samantha Stallard
What's the Swagdog story? How did the company get started?

My personal story started at University of Maryland, I was selling t-shirts for what I'll call "beverage money" and it was pretty successful and a very quick start to the entrepreneurial world. It was immediate gratification and became addicting. As I grew the business, I expanded by selling, mainly to beach stores, along the east coast. My business partner, Michael Shock, and I have designed and sold together since 1993. We grew the business through sales, but then wanted to control production, so we started to produce in-house and other companies began asking us to produced for them, too.

Over the last 24 years, we've pivoted from dealing with retail stores to dealing with corporate costumers. We aimed at helping to solve problems for corporations and marketing companies, which ended up being a more fulfilling hit for our company. Everyday is different when we're working alongside agencies like Pop2Life, because we never know what you guys are going to throw at us - and its fun! Our business is solving a problem and it happens to be a t-shirt, a pen, or a mug, but, in some cases, what we produce is totally unexpected. Having a partner that understands the business like Pop2Life makes our job that much easier. You give us the whole picture and say "solve it." 

Where does the name Swagdog come from?

We came up with this name for our web presence in 2006 and we liked it so much, we transitioned the whole company's name. We were trying to come up with a brand that was a B2C, so it had to be something quick and catchy. I'm kind of a traditionalist and it took me a little while to get used to being called Mr. Swagdog, I'm the type of guy that wears khakis and a polo everyday. The name was so catchy that people came to us and we knew we had to change the whole company to that name. The logo is fantastic, I think it helps our brand. Although, we do get a lot of people asking if we sell dog products!

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4. For National Pi Day, NASA Wants People to Solve These Rocket Science Math Problems

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 12.48.56 PM.png
Photo courtesy: Fast Company

Found in Fast Company

Apologies to anyone who thought National Pi Day was just an excuse to eat pie. In honor of the famous irrational number (π), NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has released a series of mathematical challenges faced by actual NASA scientists and engineers. They're calling it—what else?—the "Pi in the Sky Challenge."

Our take:

I remember National Pi Day as an excuse to turn chemistry class into a 6th period party, with the hopes of avoiding the actual equation that marks the geeky celebration every March 14 (celebrating the irrational  number starting with 3.14 for those of you who have blocked out the memory). However, those crazy kids at NASA have managed to turn it into a science lesson.

This social activation, while relatively simple, is an entertaining and engaging way to highlight the work of NASA's scientists and engineers - and prove once and for all that there is a place in the real world for the math we swore we'd never use. NASA has been amping up it's social media game over the last few years, with a specific focus on Twitter and Instagram as an engagement, and recruitment, tool with teens and preteens.

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5. Heinz Taps Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce for Campaign (Yes, Really) 


 Video courtesy: AdAge  

 Found in AdAge, written by Jessica Wohl

Don Draper's ketchup-less pitch for Heinz was rejected by the marketer's fictional team on "Mad Men," but now the real-life Heinz team is embracing the idea.

Creative agency David is taking only some of the credit for its newest Heinz campaign, which includes three New York billboards and ads in two print publications. The ads are nearly identical recreations of ads Mr. Draper, played by Jon Hamm, showed the client during a 2013 episode of the AMC series.

The simplistic-looking ads feature French fries, steak or a cheeseburger below the line "Pass the Heinz." In the real-life version breaking this week, the line is written "Pass the Heinz." in a slightly different font, while other elements are nearly identical.

Our take:

Watching "Mad Men" as modern day marketer means looking at the show through an even more critical eye. Not only does the plot have to make sense and the characters make you root for them, but the advertisements they're pitching have to be creative and interesting, too! We want to believe that this is a successful agency - if their ideas are horrendous, the rest of the show is lost.

The writers did even better than make us believe these could be million-dollar ad campaigns, they actually created one! Even though Don Draper pitched the 'Pass the Heinz' campaign 50+ years ago, the family-centric simplicity still resonates with the brand today.

As in the show, which aired only four years ago (not 50), the ads do not feature ketchup on the food or a bottle of the leading ketchup brand. As Mr. Draper said during his pitch on the show, "It's Heinz. It only means one thing," so the consumer infers the exact meaning.

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Topics: pop culture, news, experiential marketing, events

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