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SXSW 2024, Part Two: From Porsche to Shipt, Six Activations Making Headlines

In part two of our live coverage from SXSW 2024, we bring you six more steal-worthy event and experiential strategies spotted during our travels around Austin. From lounges to guerrilla campaigns to brand immersions, here’s what caught our attention. (Read part one of our coverage here, and stay tuned for our full field report.)

audible-after-dark-party-sxsw24_teaserRelated Stories:


One of our favorite aspects of SXSW is the range of brand experiences that you simply stumble into, and 20th Century Studios’ “The First Omen” activation was our favorite impromptu stop. With a mini pop-up chapel set up on the side of the street, and actors portraying a priest and a nun, it caught the attention of passersby, but was unassuming enough that if you weren’t paying attention, you could have easily missed it.

The chapel was equipped with three confessional booths. As soon as we stepped inside of one, we knew something sinister would happen. Like a traditional confessional booth, we sat inside and a “priest” opened up a screened door from the other side of the wall. He spoke passionately of unholy and evil doings, getting louder and more animated as he went on. Then he warned of a secret behind the “birth of evil” and slammed the door shut.

Next, red lights flashed, an evil-looking hand popped out of the wall and we were surrounded by frightening audio clips. Before we could blink, the priest slipped a photo of us that had been taken during the confessional (how this was pulled off, we may never know), and a back window opened behind us, where we found a screeching nun. And in two minutes, it was all over, but certainly not forgotten. Fun fact: The booths were equipped with hanging phone holders so that participants could record the entire experience.



Delta’s Lounge for SXSW badgeholders and SkyMiles members had plenty people in town buzzing, and a consistent line. The elegant takeover of Estelle’s featured real Delta flight attendants from all over the country, rather than brand ambassadors, welcoming and interacting with attendees (hello, authenticity). The experience was all centered around Delta Sync, a service available to SkyMiles members that includes Wi-Fi as well as Delta Sync Seatback, a brand-new in-flight experience that allows members to customize their trip with tailored information, entertainment options and other personalized perks.

Delta_SXSW24_delta sync booth interactions

Upon entry, we received two drink tickets and a voucher for a free swag item on the second floor at the Gifting Salon (and later snagged a crewneck sweatshirt, which came inside a branded tote). The lounge offered plenty of floral décor, as well as walls filled with pieces of brand memorabilia from the Delta Flight Museum in Atlanta. There were also passed bites and the option to sit at a booth and order other fare.

From an experiential point of view, it was the mock Delta Sync experience in a separate area at the back of the space that took the cake. The setup included a faux plane cabin with multiple “seats” (booths) equipped with tablets that mimicked the Delta Sync experience.

Bonus points to Delta for excellent espresso martinis. We’re picky. Agencies: RED VELVET; Team Epiphany.

Photos: Courtesy of Delta Air Lines



The Fast Company Grill returned to SXSW with a slate of programming and sponsor experiences. On the outdoor patio was a stage where a diverse roster of speakers discussed innovation, and attendees could grab a specialty hot or cold tea from the Civili-tea Bar, sponsored by SHRM, which promotes civility in the workplace.

Inside, attendees could listen to music; grab alcoholic beverages, snacks and bottled drinks; and check out activations from brands like Tetra Pak and Canva. The latter invited festivalgoers to take a three-question quiz on a tablet to find out their approach to business. Those who participated got a complimentary baseball hat that matched their persona, while supplies lasted. (Agency: 14B Marketing)



Just next door to Fast Company was the Inc. Founders house, a two-floor activation hosted at Foxy’s Proper Pub. The space served as a hub for people starting, running and growing businesses and offered daily programming on a small outdoor side patio, as well as meet-and-greets with Inc. editors. Inside the venue, free issues of the magazine were available, the bars were packed, snacks were offered in Capital One Business’s sponsor footprint, TriNet gave out coffee drinks with selfie foam art and the second story played host to Texas-inspired breakfasts and lunches each day of the event’s three-day run. (Agency: 14B Marketing)



sxsw 2024_porsche_motelOne of our favorite activations at this year’s South by was the Porsche Full Service experience, which was centered on a brand “road trip.” Layers of engagement, sensory moments, vintage cars and partnerships were all on tap.

The activation began in a Meow Wolf-inspired, branded bodega drenched in light blue. From there, a brand ambassador opened a “refrigerator” door that led to a mini human car wash of sorts, and out into the main event area.

The main space was awash in Pantone colors that Porsche vehicles come in, and included a stage, gaming stations and a character installation from the brand’s Overwatch partnership, various vehicle vignettes, an in-car “driving” experience brought to life by a large moving screen and a postcard station where attendees could fill out and send postcards from their Porsche Full Service road trip. There were also Voss waters and snacks available. What we loved: Five closed doors, each numbered, that, when opened, catered to a different sense. (Think: the roar of a Porsche engine and the scent of Porsche-shaped car air fresheners.)

And on the spacious rooftop, attendees could rest, charge their devices, tap into free Wi-Fi, purchase Porsche merchandise and listen to music when speakers weren’t on stage. Agencies: Public School; Czarnowski Collective.


ShiptSXSW-2024_chopper on the streetSHIPT

We have to hand it to Shipt for making waves all around Austin without a property to call home for the week. The brand’s guerrilla campaign had green-clad brand ambassadors riding motorized “Cruizin’ Coolers” through the city streets, and up and down various event lines, handing out freebies, like hand fans, cold drinks and sunscreen. What’s more, Shipt’s famous Shopper Chopper (an oversized grocery cart) roamed the streets and made stops to dish out free goodies, with exact locations altered in real time based on demand and foot traffic. Finally, for VIPs, and lucky media members like ourselves, Shipt dropped killer care packages in each person’s hotel room. Agency: Factory360.

Photo credit: Max Photography

Kait Shea
Posted by Kait Shea

Kait joined EM in 2015 and today enjoys her role as senior editor, digital content. When she’s not in reporter mode, rocking mermaid pants at Comic-Con or running laps at MWC Barcelona, you can find her at home listening to music.
View all articles by Kait Shea →

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