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Archive for March, 2011

PR Agency Attendance up 8-fold at SXSWi Since 2009

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

We’ve done the tallies, and clearly, some PR agencies are drinking the Austin Kool-aid. In fact, since 2009, the PR agency attendence is up by over 800%.

For putting so many feet on the ground, and increasing their attendance by at least 10x since 2009, Edelman wins this year’s “PR King of SXSWi” badge.

Here is the full PR agency leader board for SXSW 2011:

PR AGENCY 2011 Online Directory 2011 Print Directory 2010 Print Directory 2009 Print Directory
1 Edelman 44 30 3 3
2 Weber Shandwick 35 32 11 3
3 Porter Novelli 31 17 23 0
4 Fleishman Hillard 24 10 4 2
5 Dachis Group 19 13 7 2
6 Waggener Edstrom 11 4
7 Hill & Knowlton 2 0 1 2
7 Kinda Sorta Media 2 2 0 0
8 Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants 1 1 0 0
8 Kimtaro 1 1 0 0
8 The Kindle Chronicles 1 1 1 1
8 Kinetic Ink 1 1 1 0
8 Oglio Entertainment 1 1 0 0
13 Burson-Marsteller 0 0 1 0

We award the honorary “Boy Scout Badge” to Weber Shandwick, who was most prepared for SXSW by signing up the most employees in time for the print directory deadline.

If you want to see how the advertising industry stacks up, check out the ad list.

If there’s anyone we’re missing, give us a shout.

Advertising Agency Attendance Up 10-Fold at SXSWi 2011

by Nick Faber
Monday, March 28th, 2011
via flickr user stevegarfield

Ad agencies seemed to be everywhere at SXSWi this year.

JWT had an entire truck of BBQ bustling around Austin dumping brisket on anyone who tweeted at them. Our neighbors Ignite threw a hot party, and many agency players sat on interactive panels. David Berkowitz of 360i owned the Future15 format with his entertaining and prescient talk on NFC and RFIDRick Webb of Barbarian Group and Rob Rassmusen of Tribal DDB headed up a whole panel about agencies and technology, and Deep Focus CEO Ian Schafer led the Web 2.0 playbook for non-profits.

But it was only when we got home and pulled out an old SXSW directory that we realized just how giant the agency avalanche really was this year.  Some agencies that sent only one or two staffers in ’09 fielded platoons in Austin in 2011.  In all, more than 1400 ad agency folks had SXSW badges this year. That’s roughly one in 13 badges.

With more than 100 agencies and 1400+ agency folks badged in 2011 — up from almost nothing in 2009 — we have to wonder: will the festival be renamed SXSWa in 2012?

We did a little hacking, BBQ-style, to see which agencies had the biggest presence at SXSWi. We combined agencies with the same name (Leo Burnett and Leo Burnett/Arc WW, and JWT and JWT New York, for instance), chopped and sorted by attendance, and poured a little sauce on top to get the following top-10 list. (You can also view the full list of 100+ ad agencies attending SXSWi at the bottom of the post. To illustrate the magnitude of change, we’ve added a column with the same ad shops’ attendance counts for ’09.) See the bottom of the page for the full list of agencies.

Tuesday Update: We’ve mined SXSW’s online directory and updated the rankings. Leo Burnet remains King of SXSWi but there are lots of new entrants. Using the online database, ad agency attendance swelled to 1479 from our previous tally of 1013.

You can see both print and online directory numbers from 2011, and the 2009 print catalog numbers in our spreadsheet. We’ve calculated the delta between online and print directory, since this indicates which agencies plugged into SXSWi first and bought badges at the last minute.

ADVERTISING AGENCY 2011 Online Directory 2011 Print Directory 2009 Print Directory
1 Leo Burnett 65 56 0
2 Saatchi & Saatchi 60 53 3
2 BBDO 60 38 0
4 Digitas 58 43 3
5 JWT 55 42 3
5 GSD&M 55 0 0
7 Ogilvy 48 33 4
8 Sapient 47 41 11
8 Wieden+Kennedy 47 1 3
10 DraftFCB 45 29 1


So it’s our pleasure to award this year’s “King of SXSWi” badge to Leo Burnett, who brought an army of 56 to Austin. That’s a Texas-scale achievement for an agency that had zero attendees in 2009.

We give Razorfish the honorary “Boy Scout Badge” for being most prepared for SXSWi by having the most employees registered ahead of the print deadline.

At the same time, there are still some notable agencies who didn’t get badges. Even though Moxie threw a giant party, nobody from the shop appears to have bought a badge. Really? We searched the online directory, and Moxie did buy some badges. But why so late that they missed the print directory?

Think your agency should be on this list? Did we get your agency’s numbers wrong? Feel free to update our spreadsheet, and let us know what we’re missing.

If you’re one of the unlucky cats at Carat, Grey, or any of the other agencies who didn’t make it to Austin, be sure to forward this post to your boss and maybe we’ll see you next year in Texas. (more…)

Denny’s: SUXOR No More

by Nick Faber
Friday, March 25th, 2011

Last month, the SUXORZ panel had some fun with Denny’s at Social Media Week. Denny’s, trying to get into the “Social Media” game, had printed the wrong Twitter address on its menus, sending customers to the page of a random guy in Tawain named Dennys.

It was an honest mistake. After all, Denny’s owns “Dennys” on Facebook and YouTube, and Dennys.com, so why wouldn’t they own the Twitter handle?

This year, Denny’s has turned a corner on the social web, making great strides towards ROXOR status. Their actual twitter account has almost 40x the followers of the guy in Taiwain, and this month has seen the launch of the awesome new web series “Always Open with David Koechner.”

In the videos, SNL alum David Koechner has extremely casual conversations with his comedian friends at a real-life Denny’s in L.A. The first two episodes have featured Sarah Silverman and Jason Bateman, whose production company, DumbDumb, co-created the series with Electus and NY agency Gotham. The spots really emphasize the comfort you feel in America’s Diner, where you can sit with a friend and be completely open — all night.

Distributed via College Humor, as well as Denny’s own social media pages, the spots, which are set to feature Will Arnett, Amy Poehler, and more, are getting lots of admiration from the ad industry.

And is it just me, or do these videos remind anyone else of the diner scenes in Seinfeld? To this day, tourists see that Upper West Side diner and say, “Hey, this is where George and Jerry ate!” Maybe kids will start showing up at this Denny’s in LA saying, “Hey, this is where Sarah Silverman made Dave Koechner uncomfortable! Let’s get some eggs!”

New York Times Paywall: Negative Hype That’s Fit to Type

by Nick Faber
Monday, March 21st, 2011

photo: flickr user Telstar Logistics

Fans of The Gray Lady have one more week to browse her content online without limit or cost. Next Monday, March 28, the New York Times will launch its “paywall” internationally, which will restrict the amount of online content reader can view for free. So far, the move, which Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. calls an “investment in The Times,” is receiving rather skeptical press.

The Daily Beast’s Howard Kurtz calls the paywall a gamble, but perhaps not a very big one:

Given the Times’s affluent readership, that gamble may pay off in a way that could be beyond the reach of other metropolitan dailies—unless we all become accustomed to the notion that someone has to pay for good journalism.

boingboing’s Cory Doctorow makes a bold wager of his own that people won’t be able to figure out how the paywall works:

Quick: How many links did you follow to the NYT last month? I’ll bet you a testicle* that you can’t remember. And even if you could remember, could you tell me what proportion of them originated as a social media or search-engine link?

PC World’s Harry McCracken wonders if anyone besides the Times’ most voracious readers will pony up:

You can read 20 articles a month at no charge. People who come to the site via Google will be able to read five stories a day for free; visitors from Facebook and Twitter won’t have to pay.

Wired Epicenter’s John C Abell notes that even thought the broad readership of the Times can find its news elsewhere, the new subscription model is a stake in the ground for apps.

In the “web versus app” debate, the Times seems to be taking sides. Because every mobile device has a browser, the Times could have created a tier that did not include an app component, but it chose not to. You get the web version of the paper tossed in any subscription, print or digital.

TechDirt’s Mike Masnick calls it “The World’s Stupidest Paywall:”

It feels like something that was completely developed by committee group-think. It’s one of those things where they’re sitting around and someone timidly suggests a dumb idea (“I know, for $5 more we take away their smartphone access”) and, because they have to come up with something, someone else says “sure” and then they think there’s validation of a good idea.

The Atlantic’s Walter Frick calls the paywall unsustainable and NPR’s David Folkenflik recalls TimesSelect, the Times‘ last attempt at putting its content behind a paywall.

Let me remind you that all this negative hype is over a subscription model that hasn’t even launched yet. While bloggers and other news junkies have been quick to dump on New York Times, a couple of outside parties are already showing approval. Citi has officially upgraded NYT stock to “buy” and Rupert Murdoch’s new iPad pub, the Daily, ends its trial subscriptions today, implementing its own paywall one week ahead of the Times.

How many articles to your read from NYT a day? Once you’ve read your allotment, and then bypassed the wall 5 times per search engine, will you pay for more? Or will you just click over to another source?

#SXSWi: So Long and Thanks for All the Over-Stimulation

by Nick Faber
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

This past week, the technorati tore through Austin, TX, running tirelessly from panel to party, fueled by Shiner Bock and an appetite for Twitter followers. In a week where sleep is as spotty as free wi-fi and electrical outlets are more precious than business cards, the thought of going back home gets sweeter by the day.

Here are some bittersweet farewells from the revelers of Spring Break for Geeks:

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/dberkowitz/status/47759734522130433″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/edwardboches/status/47759951317303296″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/digiphile/status/47782523895427072″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/toms/status/47796137205301248″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/krempasky/status/47797143683080192″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/benkunz/status/47813473777876992″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/moon/status/47819534320680960″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/shivsingh/status/47821922821611520″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/PeterHimler/status/47416330697179136″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/izastella/statuses/47430354990137345″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/farrellactual/statuses/47980980727844864″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/Broadbandito/statuses/47728969507815424″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/brandon/statuses/47662668366102528″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/dermotwaters/statuses/47689632732815361″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/jasondebiak/statuses/47755571042070528″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/childhood/statuses/47714760216686592″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/Rynomite/statuses/47778761214660608″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/letsgobuffs/statuses/47745989091672064″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/wrdesign58/statuses/47706258458935296″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/BenjLerer/statuses/47659928311177217″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/daveknight/statuses/47988334135492608″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/jessicamalnik/statuses/47966292929552385″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/aaronstrout/statuses/47798041176059904″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/StacyCowley/statuses/47768588152614912″]

#SXSWi Trade Show: Advice for the Little Guys

by Nick Faber
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

The much-anticipated South By Southwest Interactive Trade Show opened yesterday at 11am. If I could use one word to describe it, it would be “packed.” Not just with festival-goers but with vendors. So how can vendors attract attention? Like moths to a fire, festival-goers can’t help but be drawn to the big and the fantastic.

The first “booth” you may notice is Chevy’s Photo Boom, a bullet-time photo booth that allows users take their own Matrix-Style videos. People stood in line to have a 360-degree photo of themselves jumping in mid-air with funny costumes on. Can you blame them? Over a decade after the Matrix introduced this technique, it’s still really cool.

High above the right side of the Trade Show hang giant images of Conan O’Brien, Meatwad, and other Turner TV icons. Below them are representatives of Turner’s new multi-platform technology group, AMPT, ready to pounce.

In the back of the hall, Monster.com has giant touch-screens where attendees can play Monster Match Game — and win prizes!

Between these giant interactive displays are dozens of booths that hope for a bowl of Hershey’s kisses to draw us in for a pitch. So how do the small-but-ambitious start-ups compete in this space dominated by the big, incredible, and well-funded corporate booths?

Sadly, many don’t.

But there is hope for the little guys. When free candy and beer aren’t enough to draw in the overstimulated festival-goers, a little bit of personality goes a long way. The guys from Hashtag Art got my attention with a single HDTV displaying a beautiful photo mosaic. As soon as he saw me look at his screen, Marc Fischman said “Hi Nick.” And soon he was wowing me with his products. No Hershey’s Kisses. Just good old-fashioned human interaction.

If your product alone isn’t enough to captivate someone at first glance, you can still be creative. There’s a tutorial on how to make your own “Photo Boom” on the cheap. America loves an underdog, and I for one would wait in line to “Enter the Ghetto Matrix” instead of the high-production (and probably high-cost) setup that Chevy had, if I knew it was created by a passionate and ingenious start-up.

So, Trade Show Exhibitors, if you feel like you didn’t get enough attention today, don’t worry. You’ve still got three days to put on your best smile, call a passer-by by name, and show them that you’re just as amazing as the big guys.

Blogads and PBS Party at #SXSW

by Nick Faber
Monday, March 14th, 2011

Last night, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and MyNameIsJohnMichael rocked a full house at the Parish in Austin, TX. The party, co-sponsored by PBSNPR, Frontline, ITVS, P.O.V., StoryCorps and Blogads, was a wild success. Hundreds of SXSW-ers lined up outside of the club before the doors even opened. Once they were inside, our guests were treated to drinks, a photobooth, goodies from the sponsors, and of course, a musical force of nature.

Many thanks to all of our partners who helped make it happen, and to the Parish, who let us take over their venue, and to all who were able to come out and enjoy themselves with us. While there are many more parties to be had this year, we can’t help but get excited about the possibilities for next year.

Check out our Facebook album for more pics from last night’s party. And maybe listen to a little Trombone Shorty while you’re looking.

Moot debuts Canv.as at SXSW

by henrycopeland
Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Christopher Poole, aka moot, debuted his new imagineering community Canv.as at SXSW this afternoon.

Almost immediately, Canv.as struck back with dozens of redubs of photos from his talk.

Not at #SXSW? You’re not alone.

by Nick Faber
Sunday, March 13th, 2011

The ~18k people are at SXSWi this year are only .0000025% of the world’s population, but it seems some of the Internauts who are not in Austin feel lonely.

Or bitter.

The bad news: registration may be capped next year. Get in line now people.

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Ashscallion/status/46657973203902465″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/_luisantonio/statuses/46624726524768256″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/petershankman/status/46548511428313088″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/djwaldow/status/46400923836227584″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/UniBashRadio/status/46675800543604736″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/danlondon/status/47440119833165824″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/PaulBiedermann/status/46673071351926784″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/erinfaye/status/46670835825655808″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/candicetobin/status/46668629311365120″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/boxofcrayons/status/46668099503656960″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/CarlaGates247/status/46651395797024768″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/valpass/status/46648565111586816″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/Elika/statuses/46603231157174272″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/rhnnntrtmnn/status/46677524763246592″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/heatherknight/status/46636597675950080″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/DavidBThomas/status/46404551435235328″]

[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/matt_creamer/status/46392192213860352″]

#SXSW: Tips from Top Tipsters

by Nick Faber
Thursday, March 10th, 2011

Packing for SXSW? Here’s a round-up of some of the best ‘tips for hipsters’ packages now proliferating online.

Michael Pusateri, cruftbox.com: How to prepare for SxSW, version 2011

With eight SXSWs notched, Michael Pusateri is a bona-fide SWexpert. He offers some of the best advice around, from the practical (“Always be Charging”) to the punctilious:

When asking a question in a session, don’t make a sales pitch – From time to time, people use the question time during sessions to pitch their own projects. No one cares.

Luke Garro, Antler: How to Prepare for SXSW 2011

Luke Garro taps into his experience performing at SXSW Music (as a member of the band Piebald) to offer 8 things to consider.

Be nimble. Don’t be too strict with your schedule if something better comes up last minute. Follow the energy and see where it takes you.

B. Bonin Bough, Forbes: A User’s Guide to SXSW 2011

PepsiCo’s Director of Social Media forecasts some trends at the “Davos of Digital,” including star treatment for photosharing:

Photo aggregation and sharing is one of those areas no one has quite gotten 100% right yet, but companies like Instagram, with their innovative use of hashtags, are certainly getting close, and I expect big things from them and other photosharing players at SXSW this year.

Britt Hayes, Yahoo! Movies: SXSW 2011: A Beginner’s Survival Guide

Britt Hayes covers 5 important topics, including the controversial “to badge or not to badge” issue:

Without a badge, you are nothing. This isn’t hyperbole: if you do not have a badge, you will look like a self-important jerk who thinks he’s too good to work his butt off for a badge like everyone else.

Alan Weinkrantz: Alan’s Guide To #SXSW 2011

Alan, an event speaker at SXSWi, offers 12 quick tips to first-time goers. Because, as any second-timer knows, there are just some things you forget to think about:

Wear good, very comfy shoes.  And a easy to wear t-Shirt.

Barry Moltz: How to Prepare for SXSW

Barry admits you can never be 100% prepared for SXSW, but you can pretty much count on being overwhelmed.  So…

Set up appointments with people I want to meet again and for the first time. SXSW is so huge, it is unlikely you will just run into them. I am setting up specific times and places.

Are you a jaded SXSW-goer or a nervous first-timer? Badge or no badge? How are you preparing for Austin?

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