March 22, 2024

We asked our attendees to share the idea(s) that made the biggest impression on them at SXSW.


My time at SXSW left a significant impression on me. Primarily, at a macro level, our minds struggle to grasp the magnitude and pace of exponential change. AI will bring unprecedented, radical shifts to our lives, our jobs, and the world of marketing over the next 2-3 years.

On a more tangible level, new tools will soon democratize the creation of virtual worlds. Just as smartphone cameras revolutionized content creation, AI-powered world building will soon be accessible to everyone. This will give rise to a new generation of influencers who will lead us on immersive journeys rather than just sharing photos or videos. This shift has the potential to completely redefine brand partnerships with influencers, collaboration in designing experiences, branded virtual worlds, games, and interactive events.

– Fred Shank, SVP Brand Experience


One of the most compelling conversations I heard at SXSW came from a panel on the rise of transmedia strategies in entertainment and why we should expect to see more and more of these IP crossovers moving forward.

If your first question is, “Well, what’s a transmedia strategy?” It’s just marketing speak for any sort of crossover or adaptation across film, TV, video games, books, consumer products, music and more. “Super Mario Bros: The Movie,” “The Last of Us,” “Barbie,” “Hogwarts Legacy” – all examples of transmedia.

The transmedia market maturation can be attributed to several factors, including better technology to bring robust video game worlds to life on the big screen, or simply the fact that Hollywood execs are taking notice of the success of these projects and become more open to buying in. However, as a marketer it’s important to recognize that consumer fandoms are really the driving force in this shift. New research has shown that younger generations are more likely to establish their identity in these games and film franchises, and as such are looking to consume and engage with their favorite worlds and stories at a variety of touchpoints. This transmedia upward trend should motivate us as an industry to consider the power of superfans and find ways to authentically engage them.

– Morgan Bridges, Account Supervisor


After the past few years, it’s the last thing some of us want to hear. We as a culture have found a new footing and now we need to climb again. Here are three things that are changing, as they must.

1. It’s already becoming a cliché, but it bears repeating. AI isn’t coming for your job; someone with AI skills is. Instead of looking at it as competition, add it to your tool belt and figure out how to make it your greatest asset. Don’t be afraid to approach the unfamiliar and learn it. Be curious and do the work to grow with the times. 

2. The audience is changing. Ultra-niche content is ascendant. Gone are the days of “Like and Subscribe.” We have so many options now, and the audience wants to have more power. It’s not enough to tell a story; but now we need to make sure it’s multi-modal, carrying a strong storyline across multiple platforms and social media platforms. 

3. We are more connected today than ever before, yet we are in a loneliness epidemic. We have been conditioned to believe that being on our screens means we’re connected. But in reality, we’re looking at our screens 4x more than at our significant other. For many, their phone is the first thing they look at in the morning, and it has become an extension of their hand. We don’t know how to socialize or be uncomfortable anymore. So while technology is rapidly advancing, we can’t forget to look up and foster the relationships around us. 

Storytelling, media, advertising, content, PR, etc. must adapt in order to continue making meaningful connections. There’s no time for being afraid. We have work to do!

– Emy Franke, Senior Copywriter and Conceptor

Final lesson from Morgan and Emy: just call it South By.