17 9 / 2013

What is SXSW without a pool party? Although the conference started out with some unfortunate weather, by the time Sunday rolled around it was hot, and the Ashton Residences in downtown Austin provided the perfect environment for our Wall Street Journal pool party.

Although many people may have been too shy about donning their bikinis and trunks post-winter, most were happy to get their feet wet and enjoy the sun while sipping a cocktail and eating some local BBQ. For those that were brave enough to jump in, they made quite the splash, so to speak.

The pool area filled up quickly as hundreds of the top tech and media trendsetters gathered to enjoy the lake views and soak up the Texas sun. The only hard part was getting everyone to leave.

 

13 9 / 2013

Because one pool party clearly isn’t enough, we put on another pool party at the Ashton for Rovio and it was seriously Angry Birds heaven out there. From the massive sling shot to the hundreds of stuffed birds, there wasn’t a single inch of the pool area that wasn’t decorated with Angry Birds swag.

Not only  could our guests look at all of the Angry Birds around the pool, but they could even dress up as an Angry Bird in our costume photo booth!

As the sun went down, DJ Chris Kennedy (who you may recognize from Malcolm in the Middle) spun the tunes while more and more people warmed up to the idea of getting in the water. By the end of the night, the hot tub was full of people and birds.

And as soon as you thought there is no way there could be anything else that was Angry Birds-themed, out came the seriously delicious cupcakes from Michelle’s Patisserie.

And the swag wasn’t just for during the party. We handed out over 300 Angry Birds swag bags to guests as they left filled with pens, pencils, iPhone cases, headphones, PlayStation, Nintendo and X-Box games, candy, a stuffed Angry Bird, a hat and a t-shirt.


12 9 / 2013

After a very successful SXSW Interactive week in 2012, we teamed up with Conduit again to bring Austin an even bigger and better #ConduitCorner. For six days we took over the entire southeast corner of 7th and Congress and turned a drab parking lot into a bright, festive, carnival-themed party. We opened Conduit Corner on the first Friday of the festival and provided conference attendees a place to “relax, recharge, and engage” throughout the entire Interactive portion of SXSW. From the constant stream of people stopping by during the day to charge their phone, make a t-shirt or play the claw crane to win $100 to the sponsored evening happy hours with over 1,000 RSVPs daily, there was never a dull moment at Conduit Corner.

If there is one thing that keeps the young, hip 20-somethings out during SXSW, it is the free food and beer, and trust us, there was no shortage of either at Conduit Corner this year. The delicious LA-based Wicked Kitchen served up some seriously tasty Asian-inspired dishes, and if you were lucky enough, you may have even been served by a chicken.

What carnival would be complete without a dunk tank and a balloon artist? These weren’t those balloon animals like the ones you got from a clown when you were five, these were serious works of art.

And who can say no to dunking a friend or co-worker for charity?

One of the most exciting things about being in Austin is the amount of music everywhere and the passion both Austinites and visitors share for music. From the moment we opened Conduit Corner in the mornings there was a DJ playing music, and when there wasn’t a DJ, there was live music from acts like Jonathan Stark and Delta Rae to get everyone in the dancing mood. But perhaps the most exciting day of Conduit Corner was the Tori Kelly Secret Show which brought out people of all ages as well as Scooter Braun, Mark Cuban, Mayor Cory Booker and Shervin Pishevar.

 

Conduit Corner was a huge success this year. We had a blast and we can’t wait for SXSW 2014!

 

02 4 / 2012

Kraft Foods didn’t come to the South By Southwest Interactive festival with a plan to distribute umbrellas. But when the weather report indicated 3 days of heavy rain, our client moved quickly on a creative branding play.

IRL worked with the Kraft team on an aggressive plan to design and produce branded umbrellas, which included the Kraft Foods logo, and the slogan—”Keep Your Noodle Dry.” 

In a matter of hours, we were able to source and customize umbrellas in Los Angeles, and have them sent overnight to Austin.  Within minutes of landing, our street team hit downtown to hand out free umbrellas to soggy, but grateful SXSWs attendees. 

Of course, there was a catch. People who wanted to keep those noodles dry had to let us use their phones to take their photos holding the umbrellas. Then we asked attendees to upload that photo to Twitter with the hashtag #keepyournoodledry

Kudos to the Kraft team for identifying and moving at “thunder and lightening” speed on a huge opportunity for social engagement.  They used the terrible weather as a catalyst for providing value to appreciative SXSW attendees. A win-win across the board!

Photos by Erica Gannett for IRL Productions

02 4 / 2012

We love any opportunity for thinking outside the box, and what better chance than with SXSW’s darling, the hot new app Highlight?! 

The young company had only been in the works for about 8 weeks by the time SXSW kicked off, and IRL was excited to help them take Austin by storm.

We designed and fabricated awesome neon-colored shopping carts, brought in an app-savvy street team, and hit the streets of Austin to gift attendees with groovy essentials during the long SXSW days and nights.

The carts were packed with items we all need and want during those days in Austin, such as coffee and granola in the mornings near the Conference Center, and snacks and water in the afternoon. Throughout the day, you could always snag some great Highlight gear as well.  

Oddly enough — NOT! — the late night shift seemed to be the most popular. The “neon roaming carts of awesome” as one attendee put it, had all the evening essentials — water, glow bracelets, band aids for the ladies’ sore feet, drunk-munchies and even packets of Emergen-C to help attendees avoid hangovers the next morning. 

And just like our intrepid attendees, the Highlight shopping carts were out to the wee hours of the night, rocking with tunes and goodies.

There was plenty of buzz at SXSWi about the freshness of technology behind the Highlight app, but the carts created a stir of their own as a unique way to interact with attendees.

Check this mention in Mashable: “SXSW Tour: Rain, Food Trucks and Whimsical, Bizarre promotions.”

Photos by Erica Gannett for IRL Productions

01 4 / 2012

Conduit knows what you want at SXSW, which is why this year, they asked IRL to create ConduitCorner.  For a technology brand who’s tagline is “Engaging People” we decided to do just that!  

We found an empty parking lot in the heart of downtown Austin, and turned it into a daily, backyard block party.  

To start, we covered the 4600 sq ft lot in recycled astroturf from a high school football field.  Then we built multi-level decks and enclosed everything with 146 ft of fencing.

Our original design called for jumbo umbrellas placed throughout the space, but when we saw the soggy weather reports, we quickly modified our plans and opted for a 80 x 40 ft tent.   

We also sourced an extra generator, heaters and these great rubber boots in the nick of time.

Thus, ConduitCorner became many attendees’ home-away-from-home at SXSW — and on some days, the only dry spot available!

Our backyard included all the luxury amenities needed at SXSW to rest, recharge and refuel, such as picnic tables with power-strips and free wifi, hammocks and lawn chairs for snoozing breaks, and message therapists on site for backyard backrubs.  

And when we say, “refuel,” we meant it! Guests were treated to the first-of-its-kind, Kraft Mac & Cheese Truck.  Inside, NYC Chef Sarah Simmons of  City Grit whipped up 3 different rocking recipes, and if you “checked-in” from the truck on Foursquare, you were able to sample a VIP version.

Liquid refreshments were plentiful, too! Guests enjoyed free beer, of course, but we also had on hand Capri Sun pouches — everyone’s childhood hit that drew, “Awwwws” of nostalgia from delighted attendees.

 

And if that wasn’t enough, ConduitCorner also featured an Oreo Cookie Ice Cream Bar where you could design your own delectable cookie sundae.  

The breakout favorite topping? The Birthday Cake Cookie crumble, made from a special edition cookie created in honor of the brand’s 100th Birthday. 

Our friends at Recordsetter even stopped by to capture the record for the Longest Oreo Bridge between two foreheads. Looks delicious!

Despite the terrible weather in Austin, the community’s response to ConduitCorner was fantastic!

Every day, we opened the doors at noon and were were rockin’, until the last bowl of Mac and Cheese was served at 7pm. 4300 SXSW attendees were served across the 4 day activation!

A huge thank you to our event partners, Change the RatioThe Daily MuseFashismLover.lyNew York Tech MeetupSmall Girls PR, and The Morris + King Co. who helped bring this program day to life everyone had a super time – including us!

Photos by Erica Gannett for IRL Productions

16 3 / 2012

nytsxsw:

What’s the story this year? The weather? Long-form journalism? Gamification? Jay-Z’s fonts? Who knows, but everyone shares at least one takeaway. As at past SXSW Interactive festivals, relentless person-to-person marketing is the ambient noise humming behind every panel, party and taco truck. We’ve seen the walking USB chargers and the bottomless free energy drinks available at so many downtown corners. Big brands with big marketing budgets live in these spaces - FedEx, Monster and Red Bull. During the weekend rains, agents dispatched by Kraft handed out umbrellas. The price? Allow them to use your phone to take a picture of you holding the umbrella. Then you upload that photo to Twitter with the hashtag #keepyournoodledry. But many smaller players have unleashed pairs of young mercenaries armed with matching loud T-shirts, stacks of flyers and a gimmick upon Austin. They roam the streets with coupons and bottle openers, or invitations to “be a beta tester.” This low-tech, face-to-face and possibly inefficient strategy is prevalent at an event celebrating the wondrous utopia of connected media. It’s slow going and often requires two foot soldiers to attract the momentary focus of just one individual target. If the overburdened network ever went down, though, these kids would be there to spread the message. — Andrew Kueneman

nytsxsw:

What’s the story this year? The weather? Long-form journalism? Gamification? Jay-Z’s fonts? Who knows, but everyone shares at least one takeaway. As at past SXSW Interactive festivals, relentless person-to-person marketing is the ambient noise humming behind every panel, party and taco truck. We’ve seen the walking USB chargers and the bottomless free energy drinks available at so many downtown corners. Big brands with big marketing budgets live in these spaces - FedEx, Monster and Red Bull. During the weekend rains, agents dispatched by Kraft handed out umbrellas. The price? Allow them to use your phone to take a picture of you holding the umbrella. Then you upload that photo to Twitter with the hashtag #keepyournoodledry. But many smaller players have unleashed pairs of young mercenaries armed with matching loud T-shirts, stacks of flyers and a gimmick upon Austin. They roam the streets with coupons and bottle openers, or invitations to “be a beta tester.” This low-tech, face-to-face and possibly inefficient strategy is prevalent at an event celebrating the wondrous utopia of connected media. It’s slow going and often requires two foot soldiers to attract the momentary focus of just one individual target. If the overburdened network ever went down, though, these kids would be there to spread the message. — Andrew Kueneman

13 11 / 2011

13 11 / 2011

13 11 / 2011