SXSW 2015: Five of the best brand activations

Television series Bates Motel has set up a pop-up motel for fans of the show
Television series Bates Motel has set up a pop-up motel for fans of the show

The annual South by Southwest Festival (SXSW), which kicked off last Friday (13 March) in Austin, Texas, featured an array of eye-catching brand activations.

Twentieth Century Fox

Twentieth Century Fox, which broadcasts The Simpsons, gave fans of the show a treat on Sunday (15 March) with a Kwik-E-Mart-Truck, a food truck serving free Kwik-E-Mart Squishees with a choice of two new flavours, alongside a fan photo booth and "Simpsons World" tablet demos featuring every episode of the series.

HBO's Game of Thrones

Television series Game of Thrones, broadcast on HBO, invited fans to test out their sword skills at the show’s virtual art installation, called "SXSWesteros." The activation attracted thousands of fans over the weekend, who queued for hours to take a seat and have their picture taken on the iron throne, as well as enjoying a Game of Thrones-themed beer.

A&E's Bates Motel

Another television show is also being heavily promoted at the festival. A&E's thriller, Bates Motel, a prequel to Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho and now in its third season, has set up a pop-up full-functioning motel with guests occupying three rooms for the duration of the festival. Each day, a sweepstake takes place in the "motel's" office, giving those who enter the chance to stay for one night. The pop-up, built in three days, aims to be as close to the motel featured in the television series, and even includes fake blood splatter in the shower. 


This year’s event also sees McDonald’s, an official sponsor for the first time, hosting a charging area, dubbed the ‘Fry-Fi Station’, alongside a food truck, street performances, live music and a lounge with wi-fi and TVs streaming coverage of the festival’s panels discussions. As part of St Patrick's Day celebrations today (17 March), it is serving shamrock milkshakes. 


Mastercard, meanwhile teamed up with Mashable to give an entertaining twist to the world of business, with its 'Priceless Pitch' activation. Taking place from the 13-15 March, it featured a contest aimed at start-ups, where Mastercard cardholders can pitch their big ideas in sixty seconds or less.

Those pitching a new business idea, solution or product were escorted into the Priceless Elevator. Once the door closed, they had up to 60 seconds to pitch their idea for a chance to win the grand prize of $15,000.

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