Before I give you my play-by-play of day one at SXSW, it is important to note that my experience here is specifically tailored towards covering brands, sessions and activations that either directly target or somehow affect Generation Z. The South by Southwest Conference & Festivals celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries through a week of events, panels, keynotes and concerts for over 80,000 people in attendance. Surprisingly, out of those 80,000 only a small percentage are Gen Z. Yet, many of the events discuss Generation Z without involving them in the conversation. Fortunately, MediaVillage is here with #AskGenZ to create a space for these conversations to take place. Now, let's talk about day one!
After arriving in Austin, TX around 1 p.m., I headed straight to 6th Street to check out some really cool brand activations. I was impressed by the amount of younger companies that are tech-based but Gen Z-consumer-focused. Visible -- a new phone service with no brick and mortar stores, no annual contracts and no foot-long bills -- had a super cool activation that is displayed in the video above. My favorite brand activation, however, was sponsored by the print company, Moo (which I personally love for creativity and package design). Their brand activation consisted of a makeshift print and display shop that allowed SXSW participants to curate their own personal messages on printed letters and cards, with the intention of people spreading their messages and new print materials on their social networks. Take a look at the video to check out my special MediaVillage shout-out!
The first session I attended was the Student Startup Madness competition. This competition is a nationwide, tournament-style competition for college student digital media startups, and it is responsible for bringing dozens of college teams to Austin this week to compete. Afterwards, I headed over to hear Arlan Hamilton, the Founder of Backstage Capital, talk about the importance of investing into younger, underrepresented communities. (My second report has more information regarding this session.)
Finally, I ended my day at a pitch event sponsored by Google Cloud for Startups, hosted by Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures. This event was primarily significant because it was catered towards bringing together a diverse range of people to empower the next generation of founders and creatives. The event took place at the Capital Factory, known for its stellar business resources, co-working space and accelerator programs.
For more updates and coverage, follow our SXSW journey on Twitter and Instagram via @MediaVillageCom and @DirectedByKELS.
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