SXSW Lessons and Free Insect Ice Cream (Weekly Roundup: March 21)

Posted by Samantha Stallard on March 25, 2016
Find me on:

Every Friday, the P2Blog features 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).

Have a blog, video, case study, infographic, or article you'd like to see included in next week's Roundup? Send it our way! We'll give credit where credit is due with a link to your Twitter handle and website.


Suggest an article for next week's Roundup!


1. Virtual Reality Marketing


Photo courtesy: Marketoonist 

Found in Marketoonist, written by Tom Fishburne

Virtual reality reigned supreme at this year's SXSW and, even though it's only March, some are calling 2016 the breakthrough year in virtual reality for marketing. But what marketers choose to do with the technology is more important than the technology itself.

McDonald's experimented with the technology at SXSW, allowing festivalgoers to virtually paint the inside of a Happy Meal box:

“McDonald’s shows us the capitalist dystopian side of VR, where the only limit is how many logos your eyes can take in at once … with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive coming out this spring, this type of marketing will only accelerate. If there’s a benefit of campaigns like McDonald’s virtual Happy Meal, it’s that they serve to temper our expectations around VR. Having access to reality-shaping technology has infinite possibilities. But marketers see the possibilities too, and this time when they blast our retinas with immersive new ad formats, the messages will be harder to escape than ever.”

Our take:

Virtual reality is an amazing platform for storytelling, but only if the story makes sense in the world of virtual reality. If not? Consumers will take note and may mark your brand with the ultimate marketing scarlet letter - O for out of touch.

Always be authentic in your activations and don't attempt to bend what's trending in the tech world toward your brand if they simply don't make sense together. In fact, many marketing trends move so fast, that discovering it on time is already late. Instead, forge your own path for the sake of your brand. Disrupt the tech-centric trends by flipping your activation on it's head with a more traditional, "old school" idea, like American Greeting.

If you like this, you'll love:

2. Coachella, TomorrowLand, Bonnaroo & More: How Top Music Festivals Use Social Media


Photo courtesy: HubSpot 

Found in HubSpot, written by Julie Hong

Social media allows us to promote our events more strategically, listen to and engage with our fans, enhance attendee experience, help measure the event's overall success, and find areas for improvement in the next time you put it on. 

The folks who market Belgium's famous music festival, Tomorrowland, got 37.4 million views and over 250,000 likes on their promotional YouTube video - that's 10X as many views as Sziget, Coachella, EDC, EXIT, Lollapalooza, and Bonnaroo combined. Music festivals have also embraced Twitter as a way to broadcast information about practicalities, codes of conduct, recycling, health and safety, on-site activities, etc.

Hashtags now play an essential role in increasing the social media presence of brands because they encourage discussions online. Once you choose and announce an official event hashtag, be sure to use it in every single tweet about the event, even if you have to shorten the copy of the tweet itself to make room.

Our take:

Social media marketing has gotten a bad rap. To set the record straight - it's strategic, analytical, and time consuming. There should be competitor and industry research behind each hashtag, post schedule, and persona target.

Music festivals are leading the pack in social media marketing because they have to get their message out to hundreds of thousands of fans and attendees across the world. Email is a great secondary tool, but social media ensures a precise and consistent message reaches the masses.

You can't just use social media as a megaphone. Attendees will send you questions on Twitter and expect responses. Implement a social monitoring system to ensure you respond to questions in a timely (and cost-effective) manner. And then there are hashtags. Dear, sweet, misunderstood hashtags. Create one for your event and use it across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to categorize every communication you put out in the world, attendees will reciprocate.

If you like this, you'll love:

3. Bliss, HeartBreak, and Other Office Supplies


Photo courtesy: Conscious Company 

Found in Conscious Company Magazine

It is possible that bliss and hard work are not mutually exclusive concepts. Joseph Campbell, who coined the much-misunderstood phrase “follow your bliss,” is said to have remarked late in his life that perhaps he should have said “follow your blisters.”

The call to serve others may not be revelatory, but based on the overwhelming frequency with which it is mentioned, it is our single clearest finding so far. Across ages, genders, ethnicities, job titles, industries, and cities, the storytellers said loud and clear that when you can see that your work is really helping other people, it fulfills you.

A third, and related, theme can also be seen in the storyteller challenges: a call to action. In general, the people who have achieved a high level of personal fulfillment challenged the rest of us to not just think about what bliss and service mean to us, but to do what it takes to make them real in our lives.

Our take:

At Pop2Life, we consider ourselves incredibly lucky. It's a common topic of conversation that we all genuinely love what we do. We work our asses off and it's worth it. But, as Conscious Company reminds us, we all have room for improvement. 

One way we can all be more productive in our professional lives and achieve greater happiness simultaneously is by pursuing work projects that we're excited about. Start small, maybe 30 minutes per week, and devote your energy into a passion project - we all have those brilliant ideas followed by the thought, "if I only had time to start that..." that stop is in our tracks.

The problem is, more time isn't coming and your schedule probably isn't going to miraculously open up. You have to make the time and only positive things will come, like a reignited vigor in your work and praise from your superiors!

If you like this, you'll love:

4. How the Economist Uses Experiential Marketing to Boost Subscriptions

Photo courtesy: The Drum

Found in The Drum, written by Stephen Lepitak

The Economist has begun using experiential stunts, such as serving ice cream coated in insects, to bring its content to life for potential readers and create experiences that will aim to develop interest in the publication. 

Explaining its strategy, Marina Haydn, SVP circulation and retail marketing for the Economist recently discussed how it's content was used to inspire such activity to generate readers to sign up to receive the publication regularly. 

Haydn went on to discuss some of the activities that had been carried out to generate interest through experience, including 'Discomfort Food' a campaign that offered people the chance to try ice cream covered in insects, and a branded Virtual Reality experience. 

"A lot of success of the Economist itself is that it is made by a team of editors who are humans creating and curating quality content for you and our screen activations. Experiential activations are about people on the street and talking to them and bringing our content to life." 

Our take:

Experiential marketing is a brilliant way to bring your digital content to life. Media companies are actually better positioned for experiential than traditional product brands because they can create an event around a popular article, video, or any other digital medium. The Economist's insect ice cream pop up (gross) followed all of our golden rules for activation: it was a once in a lifetime experience, got people to put their phones down and engage each other, and opened up the door, not to mention the social media portal, for a continued conversation around the brand.

Remember the marketing pain points that brought you into the world of experiential marketing. For many brands, it fills an emotional void between the business and their consumers, humanizing them as well as their product. As a journalistic publication, The Economist's readers never gain access to the people behind the stories. That is until they served them a double scoop of grasshopper...

If you like this, you'll love:

5. 6 Top Themes at SXSW 2016


Photo courtesy: Future Foundation 

Found in Future Foundation

1. Beneficence and the New Hyper Transparency: Max Levchin, co-founder and former CTO of Paypal, now CEO of Fintech startup Affirm, introduced a new term  -  Beneficence. Borrowed from Research terminology, it describes a business which puts customer need first, above the desire for profit or shareholder satisfaction.

2. On Demand – Disrupting by a Thousand Cuts:  The CEOs of Favor, Washio, Alfred and Drizly broke down the core mission of On Demand start-ups  -  making premium services mass-affordable through greater access and scale. Their key advice for On Demand start ups? Start with a broken industry and specialize in a niche product or service.

3. Time is the New Commodity: Time has become another commodity and people will pay more for immediacy and convenience. But this notion of personal time as an asset stretches beyond the On Demand sector, in the lifestyle sector mindfulness and (or “paying attention” as keynote speaker Brené Brown put it) was frequently discussed  -  in other words spending time on your thoughts in order to improve mood and concentration.

4. Visual Commerce: Image-crammed, social platforms from Pinterest to Instagram are adding Buy buttons and becoming e-commerce platforms. The path to purchase is therefore more visual and more socially augmented than ever. R/GA’s Managing Director of Social, Kyle Bunch, predicted the death of the e-commerce platform, claiming future consumers will go straight to social.

5. The Dark Web. The Deep Web. Privacy? With every interaction on the web, from shopping, to banking, to getting that discount at the bar, requiring access to our personal information… is privacy still a thing? SXSW was littered with questions of privacy.

6. Corporations as Start-Ups: Beacon-based ordering systems, start-up labs in Kenya, tinder-style shopping… these are innovations you might expect out of the hallowed halls of Silicon Valley. But, in fact these are just some of the latest innovations from corporations embracing entrepreneurial spirit by founding in-house startup labs to ensure they transition to the digital era. 

Our take:

It was awesome to see smaller, private companies holding their own against the big boy brands at this year's SXSW, proving that unique, money-can't-buy experiences aren't reserved for bottomless budgets. Large brands actually have a lot to learn from the startups disrupting their industries - mainly transparency and flexibility.

Consumers want to trust the companies the do business with and buy products from. Trust that they are getting the best service, at the best price, from the best people. If your brand is fulfilling all of those requirements and your customers are satisfied (and returning), then ask them to engage with you! To follow you on social media or attend an event you're sponsoring.

If you like this, you'll love:


Topics: pop culture, news, experiential marketing, weekly roundup, marketing trends, events

Subscribe to blog email updates