The five most extraordinary brand activations at SXSW 2018


SXSW, the annual film, media, and music festival and conference that take in Austin, Texas, never fails to feature some of the most extraordinary brand activations of the year. 

To get you inspired for SXSW 2019 (which is happening in just two short months), we took a look back at our favourite experiences from the 2018 show.  

1. HBO transports fans into Westworld

If you’re a Westworld fan, you probably watch the show dreaming about one day being a ‘guest’ at the futuristic amusement park. Well, HBO made that fantasy a reality this year by creating an immersive, real-life version of Sweetwater for SXSW attendees to celebrate the release of the second season of Westworld.

2. Ready Player One VR experience transports fans to 2045

One the biggest movies of 2018, Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One was a fanboys fantasy come true. At SXSW this year, Warner Bros’ and HTC upped the ante for the film’s release with an incredible virtual reality showcase that enabled fans to “immerse themselves in vivid glimpses into hero Wade Watt’s world” through a virtual reality experience using VIVE VR.

3. Make Google do it: Google Assistant Fun House

It’s a wild time to be alive – robots, 5G internet and virtual assistants that can do just about anything. Google brought the future to SXSW with it’s Google Fun House that allowed you to make a margarita, clean out your litter box and re-arrange your sock drawer. Seriously. Who said technology can’t be fun?

4. Get ready to be amazed at Sony’s Wow STUDIO

The 2017 winner of best use of tech at the coveted SXSW Arrow Awards, The Wow Studio is an innovation laboratory that “immerses you in cutting-edge creative and technological concepts developed with a spirit of open-minded and unbridled experimentation”. Think A(i)R hockey, a cartoon VR football experience and a super adorable robotic dog. 

5. Gatorade’s Techy Shop with a Secret Room

While it looks like a run-of-the-mill pop-up shop at first glance, attendees can open a refrigerator at the back of the G Store to enter a hidden room filled with tons of cutting-edge athletic tech. This includes a VR station called Beat the Blitz where attendees can strap on a headset and run quarterback drills with a virtual Peyton Manning. There’s also a RE/ACT Attack station that uses an interactive LED light training system to test and improve an athlete’s reaction time, agility, speed and coordination. Very cool! 

Need help planning your SXSW activation? We’ve got you covered. Get in touch with our NY team to see how we can create an extraordinary experience for you brand. 

Author bio


I love the craft behind design, the big idea behind the campaign, and above all, working within a team that's super talented. I’m a Dad to two amazing boys and in my spare time I enjoy the beach and a bit of cross-country swimming.