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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…)

#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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