From the Palmer to the AT&T Center and all points in between, EM has been all over Austin, chasing down the big and small brands alike to see how they showed attendees at this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW) the love. Now the time has come to go inside and bring you the SXSW Interactive trade show exhibit hall. Before we walked through those doors, however, we had to take time to get behind the wheel of the 450 horsepower 2012 Chevrolet Corvette thanks to the Drive a Chevy ride and drive experience, which gave consumers a chance to drive one of six models, including the ’vette, Volt and Camaro. The cool factor was that you took it out on the real roads, in traffic, and not on a closed course. It was fun, but the heavy traffic made each ride really long, so the wait was pretty long, too.
After the drive, it was time to dive into the exhibit hall, which was filled to the brim with big brands like Symantec’s Norton Antivirus and with brand-new startups, services and apps. Not to mention the universities and recruiters looking to enroll and hire new talent and the international commerce concerns hoping to encourage investment in their regions. There was something for every attendee, and we’re happy to give you a taste.
Symantec went all out with a full-on double-expandable trailer inside the hall. Attendees went inside armed with a barcode swipe card. The idea was to defend your devices from malicious attacks with the help of Symantec products, via a series of clever gaming stations. At the end, players took a test on the brand and products points they learned by playing the games, and the highest scorers won prizes. It wrapped up with a green-screen photo activation so the folks had something to remember the brand by.
One of the best-looking booths was by Otterbox, the mobile device and laptop case makers, famous for being rugged enough to protect devices from any kind of torture. They had the tallest booth, a huge yellow cylinder that could be seen from all over the hall, and they also had one of the most fun games. A staffer threw a cell phone wearing an Otterbox case down a “Plinko” board, and the players guessed where it would land in order to win a prize. Some trusting fans of the brand put their own Otterbox-protected devices through the course, and they got some of the best prizes.
That’s all for now folks, but don’t worry, we won’t make you wait long for the rest of the stories from South-by. We’re headed home now, but once we’re back on the ground, the full download will be forthcoming, along with more photos and video as fast as we can get ’em to ya.