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SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
04/15
JWTINTELLIGENCE.COM
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY
VIRTUAL REALITY
TH...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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THEY CAME, THEY LISTENED,
THEY ATE TACOS… THEY SAW AL GORE,
AND MAYBE...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
This year’s SXSW Interactive was bigger than ev...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
5
This was a rising theme at SXSW 2015. Where the Film,
Music, and Inte...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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IMMERSIVE, DIGITAL EXPERIENCES
IN EXERCISE AND MEDITATION
ARE ON THE ...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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Martine Rothblatt, CEO of biotech company United
Therapeutics Corp., ...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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From Princess Reema (pictured right) to U.S. CTO Megan
Smith, who bot...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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There were a number of virtual reality experiences
on show at SXSW In...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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Paola Antonelli (below right), senior curator at the
Museum of Moder...
THERE WAS A WHOLE
CONVERGENCE BETWEEN FILM,
INTERACTIVE AND MUSIC THIS YEAR,
REFLECTING THAT TO CONSUMERS
IT’S REALLY THE ...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
12
Sustainability and social good were major themes
at SXSW Interactive...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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Alongside talking about his new emotional visual sharing app
Super, ...
IS UBER SIMPLY THE NEXT
STEP TOWARD AUTOMATED
SHARED MOTOR TRANSPORT?
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SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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By now everyone will have heard of Meerkat, the live
streaming video...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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While we’re on the subject of humanity and technology,
one of the mo...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE
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Award-winning journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell
and Benchmark’s...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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Many talks inevitably talked about the future of retail and
wearable...
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE
WEBSITE LOOK LIKE IF IT'S A FEW
INCHES BIG? OR THERE'S NO
WEBSITE AT ALL. RETAILERS ARE
GOING ...
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This is an interesting move for Westfield. Increasingly
we’re seeing...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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BEST OF THE REST:
BRAND ACTIVATIONS,
EVENTS, POP-UPS
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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LIFE BELOW ZERO
National Geographic Channel’s “Life Below Zero:
Esca...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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SPORTS AND THE NEW DIGITAL FRONTIER
Sport in general was a theme on ...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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SUPER, VISUAL SHARING FOR GENERATION Z
Biz Stone discussed his brand...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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THE LAST WORD
FROM JOI ITO, DIRECTOR OF M IT MEDIA LAB
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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IN THE FUTURE, IT WON'T
BE JUST PFIZER THAT
INVENTS NEW THINGS.
SXSW...
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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ON SYNTHETIC
BIOLOGY:
The cost of doing scientific research is dimin...
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JWTINTELLIGENCE.COM
SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015
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JWT: SXSW Interactive 2015 (April 2015)

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This year’s SXSW Interactive was bigger than ever, with over 33,000 attendees and hundreds of panels and events. Our latest report explores key themes from the ballooning festival, from innovations in sustainability to the new frontier of artificial intelligence and virtual immortality. The report features on-the-ground insights, brand examples and interviews with experts from tech and academia.

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JWT: SXSW Interactive 2015 (April 2015)

  1. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 1 SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 04/15 JWTINTELLIGENCE.COM
  2. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 2 ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY VIRTUAL REALITY THE AUGMENTED HUMAN MATERIAL FUTURES SUSTAINABILITY – A BUSINESS AND MARKETING IMPERATIVE USER-GENERATED CONTENT – MEERKAT AND BEYOND TINDER – THE NEW MARKETING PLATFORM UBER DEBATE THE FUTURE OF RETAIL BEST OF THE REST: BRAND ACTIVATIONS, EVENTS, POP-UPS 07 08 09 09 10 12 15 16 18 17 21
  3. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 3 THEY CAME, THEY LISTENED, THEY ATE TACOS… THEY SAW AL GORE, AND MAYBE EVEN CAUGHT A GLIMPSE OF SHIA LABEOUF’S BEATING HEART. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 3
  4. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 4 SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 This year’s SXSW Interactive was bigger than ever, with over 33,000 attendees. A brand new JW Marriott — its paint barely dry and reflective façade glimmering — became a beacon for the event and a venue for many of the panels. Its Corner bar on street level, meanwhile, an open-air margarita den, became a hotspot for defecting attendees. There were many constants at SXSW Interactive this year. Fast Company brought back its Fast Company Grill entertainment space, its editorial staff again leading many panels and interviews. MIT Media Lab was out in force. A&E returned with a bigger version of last year’s Bates Motel street-level brand activation (a life-size stage set mockup of the famous motel in the series, occupying a corner next to the Convention Center, which many passersby took pictures of). New to the roster was Soho House, which created a temporary events venue in the backwaters of East Austin, staging panels, dinners and parties for movers and shakers across both the Interactive and Music parts of SXSW. Fashion and Retail also took up a much bigger part of the content — the presence of fashion and retail brand attendees has been steadily increasing year-on-year. SoulCycle and Equinox were also out in force on panels and launching pop-ups for guilty conference partiers. Dazed Group, publishers of Dazed & Confused magazine and AnOther, staged a series of events on and off the schedule — the group is turning innovation into a key platform, having recently launched the first digital video magazine cover for AnOther magazine with William Casey company PCH. Dazed & Confused has also been exploring the convergence of innovation and art. Another initiative launched at SXSW was a new conceptual art piece in which people could watch actor Shia LaBeouf’s heart beat online while he was attending the festival. The piece, #followmyheart, made in collaboration with artists Luke Turner and Nastja Säde Rönkkö, required him to wear a tracking device for six days. It was designed, the creators said, to bring emotion to the internet. PEOPLE COULD WATCH ACTOR SHIA LABEOUF’S HEART BEAT ONLINE WHILE HE WAS ATTENDING THE FESTIVAL. SXSWINTERACTIVE2015
  5. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 5 This was a rising theme at SXSW 2015. Where the Film, Music, and Interactive parts of the conference have historically remained quite separate, this year many platforms overlapped, reflecting a growing general freefall between all digital, entertainment and social industries — be it digital art, movie marketing through social networks, virtual gamescapes and beyond. “There was a whole convergence between these areas, reflecting that to consumers it’s really the same thing now,” observed Elizabeth Gore, entrepreneur-in-residence at Dell, and speaker on many panels. The role of humanity and nature in relation to rapidly evolving technology was also a key theme — from artificial intelligence to synthetic biology. Connor Dickie, CEO of Synbiota, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito, University of Pennsylvania professor Orkan Telhan and managing director of Bioeconomy Capital Rob Carlson ran a panel: “Synthetic Biology: Learn, Do and Dream.” Koert van Mensvoort also gave a talk: “Next Nature: How Technology Becomes Nature.” Meanwhile, Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art, spoke of coats made from stem cells, growable leather and food that is still "semi-living." The concept of augmenting the human through data, exoskeletons and technology, pushing the boundaries of our capabilities, was also a rising topic. Much debate was centered on the ethical questions surrounding this as it becomes possible to "hack nature," 3D print organs, and — in theory — replicate minds. Our perceptions of what humanity and nature should be are clearly being challenged or forced into flux by the rapid pace of innovation. The content is hugely mixed at SXSW Interactive. Or at least, the schedule is so bloated that finding a valuable talk is like finding a needle in a haystack. Which organizers should be mindful of in an ever-crowded landscape where new conferences are nipping at their heels — chiefly Dublin's Web Summit, which has launched a sister event called Collision in the U.S., and C2 in Montreal, which is heavily curated. That said, as a sense check on macro trends the event endures. It also continues to draw the great and the good of not only tech industries but also entertainment, luxury, retail and media. THE ROLE OF HUMANITY AND NATURE IN RELATION TO RAPIDLY EVOLVING TECHNOLOGY WAS ALSO A KEY THEME — FROM ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY. SXSWINTERACTIVE2015
  6. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 6 IMMERSIVE, DIGITAL EXPERIENCES IN EXERCISE AND MEDITATION ARE ON THE RISE. LUCIE GREENE, WORLDWIDE DIRECTOR OF JWTINTELLIGENCE
  7. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 7 Martine Rothblatt, CEO of biotech company United Therapeutics Corp., and highest-paid female executive in the U.S., gave a much buzzed-about talk on how artificial intelligence will allow humans to become immortal by replicating them. In her biotech business, she’s already been developing ways to grow human organs for transplanting. Through her personal foundation she’s also been developing new technology for what she calls "mind cloning" — translating human mannerisms, personalities, beliefs and behaviors into digital form so they can be replicated and applied in cyber form to regenerated human bodies — allowing us, in essence, to become immortal. Rothblatt spoke about the possibility of using the vast data pool of people’s social media feeds, video and other digital assets over a lifetime to create a new cyber consciousness — sort of a doppelganger of ourselves. Rothblatt has also been credited with creating the first "sentient robot": Bina48, a living, breathing, emotive android version of Rothblatt’s wife. Fear about AI aside, Rothblatt’s talk comes at an interesting time. The limits of humanity are being pushed with new technology. Already Time magazine’s February cover ran with the picture of a child, declaring, "This baby could live to be 142 years old." Google has famously invested in Calico, a biotech company, to explore how to reverse aging. Meanwhile, Peter Thiel, founder of PayPal, has talked of Silicon Valley’s next frontier being the battle with aging. ARTIFICIALINTELLIGENCE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
  8. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 8 From Princess Reema (pictured right) to U.S. CTO Megan Smith, who both appeared in keynote sessions, women as a force in technology and business was a rising theme at SXSW Interactive. Reema spoke of the challenges facing Saudi women in the workplace, while also discussing her work promoting awareness of breast cancer, which is a leading cause of death to Saudi women aged 20-59, according to the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, at a talk with Megan Smith, Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, and Walter Isaacson, CEO of the Aspen Institute, unconscious gender bias was also highlighted live during the talk, as Schmidt was publicly called out by an audience member (and Google staffer) for repeatedly cutting Smith off in discussion. There were a host of events designed to connect and celebrate women in technology. Twitter threw a Women of Tech brunch that drew female founders, VCs, directors and strategists from the Levo League to Andreessen Horowitz and a host of new companies. Protein, Dazed & Confused and Soho House also co- hosted an off-schedule panel exploring women in technology — as a market, but also a force in innovation and entrepreneurship in tech, featuring our own Lucie Greene, worldwide director of JWTIntelligence; Dell’s Elizabeth Gore; Emma Sutton, head of marketing for Dazed and Confused; and Tamsin Glasson, founder of gaming/media company VRSE.works. Discussion focused on how women as tech consumers (women now control over 50% of tablets and make up over half of gamers) but also as leaders in technology. “It needs to go far, far, further though,” argued Gore of the event. “There was such an appetite for it as a discussion among women too. It could double as a presence on the schedule and I don’t think it would be going far enough.” Bob Safian, editor and managing director of Fast Company, agrees: “The whole issue of diversity in general in technology is generating momentum. Users of technology cut across all demographics and lines. Everything needs to catch up.” WOMENINTECHNOLOGY WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY
  9. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 9 There were a number of virtual reality experiences on show at SXSW Interactive — most connected with Google in some way. Google has been ramping up its visible connection with digital creatives, artists and entertainment vehicles recently to showcase its capabilities. Following a transmedia partnership for the launch of Interstellar — in which Google created a microsite with education, games and storytelling to complement the movie — an immersive virtual reality experience was staged at SXSW Interactive. Conference-goers wore headsets sitting down to “explore the craft in zero gravity” using virtual reality headsets. At Google’s Fiber Space, virtual reality game The Living World was showcased by cloud games company Shinra. The 32 by 32 km "world" houses 1 million trees, 16,000 dragons, real-time terrain deformation — powered by the ultra-fast Google Fiber connection speeds and supercomputer data center. “All of these elements are fully loaded into memory running off of Shinra Technologies’ supercomputers, resulting in zero loading time, up to 64 possible players interacting in the same game world, and a multitude of other features otherwise impossible on existing video game consoles or PCs,” said Shinra. The North Face also showcased a virtual reality cinema experience at the Google Fiber Space, exploring U.S. national parks. VIRTUALREALITY/THEAUGMENTEDHUMAN Hugh Herr, head of Biomechatronics at MIT Media Lab also hosted a keynote dubbed “Extreme Bionics: The End of Disability.” Herr talked about how we are moving beyond prosthetics that bring humans back to zero, that are compensatory, to electromechanical enhancements that will “eliminate the barriers between human limitation and human potential.” J. Walter Thompson covered this in our Future 100 report. Increasingly — from clever fabrics that accelerate your workout, to exoskeletons, to prosthetics — we’re moving beyond the idea of using technology to solve disabilities and be compensatory. The next era will include “augmented humans” who are capable of much more. This of course will create ethical concerns, but it’s exciting to see. It also forces the question: Is normal actually better? VIRTUAL REALITY THE AUGMENTED HUMAN
  10. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 10 Paola Antonelli (below right), senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), gave a brilliant talk on how designers are pushing new boundaries and creating credible future solutions to world problems by exploring the intersection of disciplines from biology to technology and design. She talked in particular about how creatives are revisiting old techniques and craft to create sustainable furniture materials. Like Formafantasma, a studio that has experimented with resins made from insect excrement. She also talked about the growing intersection between biology, science and design — designers using biology to “grow” art forms, as MIT Media Lab’s Neri Oxman has done with her Silk Pavilion (above right), a giant structure woven entirely by silk worms. Other designers are growing alternatives to Styrofoam using mushrooms. These creatives spilling outside traditional parameters will help shape the future. Oxman’s work in particular is innovating in sustainability and the function of materials. Oxman, a professor at MIT, founded the Mediated Matter design research group, which explores the “intersection of computational design, digital fabrication, materials science and synthetic biology.” MATERIALFUTURES MATERIAL FUTURES
  11. THERE WAS A WHOLE CONVERGENCE BETWEEN FILM, INTERACTIVE AND MUSIC THIS YEAR, REFLECTING THAT TO CONSUMERS IT’S REALLY THE SAME THING NOW. ELIZABETH GORE , ENTREPRENEUR-IN-RESIDENCE AT DELL SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 11
  12. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 12 Sustainability and social good were major themes at SXSW Interactive. “There was a big focus on the triple bottom line: People, Profit, Planet,” said Gore, who worked for the U.N. before joining Dell. “It’s being driven by a number of things. There’s so much idealism among Millennial entrepreneurs. It used to be that you made your money then you entered philanthropy. Millennials want to start doing good through their businesses right away and find new ways to give money while still being profitable.” Al Gore spoke about the “challenge” and “opportunity” in the climate crisis. The creative director and president of sustainable luxury brand Maiyet, Kristy Caylor, was also the center of a talk on the future of sustainable fashion. Maiyet, like Toms (the one-for-one shoe brand), has created a new business model to be sustainable. It has established craft hubs in emerging economies and works with local communities to make its goods. Levi Strauss & Co., which outfitted all 350 of the SXSW staff in denim jackets, made saving water its cause celeb at the conference, unveiling how it's saved 1 billion liters of water since 2011 by reducing water in the garment finishing process by 96%. It also launched #WashLessPledge, asking consumers to commit to washing less to save water. There was SXgood, a major social good hub exploring social innovation, entrepreneurship, impact design and cause issues, with speakers from the U.N., Google.org and various brands. SUSTAINABILITY—ABUSINESSANDMARKETINGIMPERATIVE SUSTAINABILITY — A BUSINESS AND MARKETING IMPERATIVE
  13. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 13 Alongside talking about his new emotional visual sharing app Super, Biz Stone (right) spoke of the importance of CSR. “The future of marketing is philanthropy. Young people in particular are attracted to companies with meaning,” he said, adding that increasingly companies will need to do more CSR and philanthropy to retain Millennials as employees. Fast Company’s Bob Safian agrees: “We talked about this recently. It’s increasingly important for brands to find their ‘mission.' It’s a business imperative to settle on what their purpose really is, aside from making money. There are too many brands, and this will become a key way in which people filter the ones they buy into.” Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario also led a passionate discussion about innovation in sustainability. Patagonia has had massive success in this space, innovating in sustainable fabrics, creating recycled clothing collections and even donating solar panels to people in Hawaii as part of its efforts. In the process, it is getting a slew of organic press attention. Patagonia has a team called “creative idealists” who create products that outperform while being responsible to the planet. Marcario also echoed Naomi Klein’s recent argument that publicly traded companies are damaging the environment because the necessity for short-term profitability does not allow brands to think long-term, strategically or “bigger picture” in investing in sustainability. Daniel Bobroff, head of investment at ASOS, touched on this same issue on the same day in a talk dubbed “Building a Lean Mean Fashion Business Machine.” Companies are not thinking about their long-term life or building strategies for the distant future (which, by the way, is not that distant any more) and sustainability is central to that. Bobroff said that the average life span of a company now is 15 years, whereas previously it would have been 50. SUSTAINABILITY—ABUSINESSANDMARKETINGIMPERATIVE SUSTAINABILITY — A BUSINESS AND MARKETING IMPERATIVE
  14. IS UBER SIMPLY THE NEXT STEP TOWARD AUTOMATED SHARED MOTOR TRANSPORT? SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 14
  15. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 15 By now everyone will have heard of Meerkat, the live streaming video app that was the sensation of SXSW Interactive, which allows consumers to post live video footage to Twitter. The intrigue was propelled further during SXSW when Twitter announced that it would limit Meerkat’s access to its social graph, in light of launching its own version through recently acquired video streaming app Periscope (which went live March 26). The bigger picture with these two developments is the rise in user-generated content, and also the switch in social media coverage not just to visual sharing but social media sharing. (Interestingly, most coverage of the recent round of fashion shows in New York, London, Milan and Paris this year featured heavy video instagram coverage.) “People want unpolished content, they want authenticity,” Meerkat founder Ben Rubin has said. This echoes our "Real Aspirations" trend in the Future 100 report. The rise of Tumblr, grassroots Instagram and YouTube celebrities, consumer entertainment gaming platforms like Twitch and citizen journalism on platforms like Vice Media, all show that consumers are increasingly looking to each other — to their peers — for entertainment. A sign of the increasing influence of user-generated content at SXSW Interactive was Diesel’s new campaign, unveiled by Nicola Formichetti during SXSW. Rather than using a big-name photographer, Formichetti picked out Instagrammer Doug Abraham, aka “BessNYC4.” Is this the sign of things to come? Platforms like Instagram and new apps for smartphones are allowing users to take professional-standard photos and also be creative with treatments. Brands from Marc by Marc Jacobs to Dove have featured consumers. Will future campaigns be created by them? USERGENERATEDCONTENT—MEERKATANDBEYOND USER-GENERATED CONTENT — MEERKAT AND BEYOND
  16. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 16 While we’re on the subject of humanity and technology, one of the most buzzed about campaigns launched during SXSW Interactive was the one seeded on Tinder for forthcoming sci-fi film Ex Machina, which explores artificial intelligence. In lieu of unveiling the movie at the film portion of SXSW, marketers created a fake digital avatar of the lead character Ava, played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander, which was fully interactive. In conversations with Ava, responses slowly revealed aspects of the film plot. She asked Tinder users what it felt like to be human. Eventually, users were led to an advert for the movie. The campaign stands out not only as a clever blurring of the lines between fact and fiction — echoing similar techniques in the marketing of movies like 2012’s sci-fi outing Prometheus, which even had a fake future TED Talk created and released on YouTube. It also is an innovative use of Tinder, a dating sight, as a marketing platform. More of this to come? TINDER—THENEWMARKETINGPLATFORM TINDER — THE NEW MARKETING PLATFORM
  17. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 17 Award-winning journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell and Benchmark’s venture capitalist Bill Gurley teamed up to discuss everything from Uber to health care. Most interesting was the discussion around Uber. Gurley is on the board of Uber and said that currently Uber is adding 50,000 jobs per month. Gurley said it was dramatically reducing road deaths from drunk driving and impacting the way consumers navigated cities. “Take Los Angeles. You take a bus to pick your hire car. You have to pay $40 to park it at your hotel. There’s maps... With Uber all of that goes away.” Gurley said much of the demand for Uber was new — aka it has unlocked a new consumer base for taxis. “For years we’ve grossly underestimated the demand for transport services,” he said, adding that Millennials see cars as “utiliity, not a social statement.” Gladwell, in a counter question, asked what impact Uber would have on the legions of carmakers. In other words, while it may be creating jobs for some, in the bigger picture if it forces automakers into decline its effects will be counterbalanced. The next stage of this, with the rise of automated vehicles, will be the question of whether taxi driving itself will become obsolete. Is Uber simply the next step toward automated, shared motor transport? UBERDEBATE UBER DEBATE
  18. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 18 Many talks inevitably talked about the future of retail and wearables. Liza Kindred, founder of U.S. fashion-tech think tank Third Wave Fashion, led an interesting discussion with FashTech London and Cortexica on this. “What does the future website look like if it’s a few inches big? Or there’s no website at all. Retailers are going to have to start thinking about this. About other ways to communicate about products. What does my brand smell like? Or feel like?” said Kindred. Meanwhile, wearables — the subject of many a talk — endured a collective backlash among audiences. “There’s been so little innovation in the space,” says Elizabeth Canon, founder of Fashion’s Collective, a fashion and technology consultancy. “They’re all too singular in what they do.” Westfield, which hosted a networking lunch at the W Hotel, is innovating in physical retail spaces. This spring, the Australian shopping center group is launching "Bespoke" at its San Francisco mall — a mixed-use co-worker space, supporting startups and connecting new ventures to bigger retailers and consumers. Described as a “trifecta of co-working, demo and event spaces,” the group will run beta workshops allowing retailers to actively trial new technology and concepts. New companies will be able to demo their products. The co-working space will be open 24/7 with 14 conference rooms, a library and "sleep nooks." THEFUTUREOFRETAIL THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
  19. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF THE WEBSITE LOOK LIKE IF IT'S A FEW INCHES BIG? OR THERE'S NO WEBSITE AT ALL. RETAILERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO START THINKING ABOUT THIS. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 19 LIZA KINDRED, FOUNDER OF THIRD WAVE FASHION
  20. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 20 This is an interesting move for Westfield. Increasingly we’re seeing brands use empowering or facilitating entrepreneurship as a PR platform. Pernod Ricard has run two initiatives like this. It’s launched Our/Vodka, a series of microdistilleries in cities from Berlin to Detroit, that invites locals to create their own Vodka, market it, run the distiller and get a cut of the profits. Through its brand Chivas, it has also launched The Venture, a $1 million fund to mentor and develop new entrepreneurs. It’s an effective way to reach Millennials in particular. 2013 research by the Prince's Trust in the U.K. found that 25% of young British people expect to be self-employed by 2018. One other interesting innovation, highlighted at Google and Fashion Collective’s post-SXSW session, was the forthcoming launch of LinkNYC. This year, 10,000 Wi-Fi- beaming pods with interactive screens will be installed throughout New YorkCity, giving nearby users free internet while also directing them to local restaurants and stores. They’ll be able to make free calls through the devices and charge their phones for free. By driving consumers to local business through targeted ads and suggestions, the creator CityBridge (a consortium that includes Titan, Qualcomm and the Control Group, among others) estimates that they will collectively drive $500 million in revenue to New York within the first 12 years of launching. THEFUTUREOFRETAIL THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
  21. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 21 BEST OF THE REST: BRAND ACTIVATIONS, EVENTS, POP-UPS
  22. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 22 LIFE BELOW ZERO National Geographic Channel’s “Life Below Zero: Escape the Cold” experience stood out as one of the better brand activations at SXSW Interactive. The pop-up was a series of pods that simulated the icy conditions of Alaska inside. Visitors taking part were asked to sit in the pods and complete challenges and tasks as the temperature dropped to freezing. We’ve seen this a lot recently. Experience-hungry Millennials have progressed beyond wanting novelties such as immersive cinema (Future Cinema). Increasingly there’s a desire for experiences to be challenging, uncomfortable or even scary for bragging rights. “Life Below Zero” is a good example of this. BESTOFTHEREST:BRANDACTIVATIONS,EVENTS,POP-UPS
  23. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 23 SPORTS AND THE NEW DIGITAL FRONTIER Sport in general was a theme on schedule, and off. Equinox President Sarah Robb O’Hagan hosted a talk — “How the Data Era Will Build High Performing Humans” — featuring speakers Haile Owusu, chief data scientist at Mashable; Victor Cruz, wide receiver for the New York Giants; and Michael Gervais, Ph.D. in high performance psychology. The talk centered on the quantified self and using data to augment human performance in sport — from athletics to members of Equinox connecting their Jawbones or Fitbits to their branded app — tracking heart rate, success, time and sleep. O’Hagan revealed some interesting insight on Equinox members about how increasingly they are motivated by not just shared exercise experiences but competition. “We’ve set up leader boards for cycle classes, East vs. West Coast. We have a SXSW one, too,” she said. “The fact that your score is public on display adds to it.” NBCUniversal is also applying gamified mechanics to its fitness video program Radius. A sign of the rising cult status of lifestyle/sport temples SoulCycle and Equinox was their presence at SXSW Interactive, not just on the stages but in services. The conference partying continued, but come dawn those same revelers were also pounding the streets of downtown Austin, sweating off excesses. SoulCycle, CrossFit and Equinox all had presences on the lineup and are staging classes or pop ups. Equinox set up next to the Fast Company Grill, inviting visitors to take part in its new immersive competitive spin class The Pursuit, in which data from each bike is collated in real time with leader boards on display. The class has just been introduced. In the official version, cyclists are surrounded by screens displaying creatively visualized data generated by their movement. This is an interesting addition for Equinox. We are seeing more digitally immersive exercise classes. Reebok just introduced a whole series of immersive fitness classes with Les Mills that are offered in enclosed boxes lined in digital interactive screens. At CES, artist Lia Chavez also created a "meditation nightclub" for The Cosmopolitan hotel, which translated meditative brainwaves into a visual digital experience. BESTOFTHEREST:BRANDACTIVATIONS,EVENTS,POP-UPS
  24. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 24 SUPER, VISUAL SHARING FOR GENERATION Z Biz Stone discussed his brand new Super app at SXSW. His bold aim, he said, is to redefine social sharing by bringing empathy and emotion to it. Stone’s hunches with his ventures and their relation to consumer behavior have so far been spookily accurate. Twitter’s immediacy and quick-paced snippets were the perfect antidote to verbose blogging when it launched. Medium, his more recent "slow" social network, dedicated to carefully considered, thoughtful content, has chimed with the mindfulness movement. Super is a visual sharing app that invites users to state an emotion and then search for an applicable image to go alongside it. It looks like the perfect comic book mix of Tumblr, emojis and a fanzine, with bright poppy colour and collage effects. Users can switch up their profile picture by layering over cartoon sunglasses. The look is inspired by artist Barbara Kruger. The empathy part supposedly comes when users share how they feel and another fan endorses it. The interesting thing about Super is the amount of information users must upload to join. Participants are asked to give over their phone number, location, and Facebook and Twitter logins, among others. If it takes off it will be a data goldmine. BESTOFTHEREST:BRANDACTIVATIONS,EVENTS,POP-UPS
  25. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 25 THE LAST WORD FROM JOI ITO, DIRECTOR OF M IT MEDIA LAB
  26. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 26 IN THE FUTURE, IT WON'T BE JUST PFIZER THAT INVENTS NEW THINGS. SXSWINTERACTIVE2015 JOI ITO, DIRECTOR OF M IT MEDIA LAB
  27. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 27 ON SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY: The cost of doing scientific research is diminishing. We’re seeing the rise of street biology. There’s new access, platforms and tools allowing more consumers, even in their garages, to be involved in scientific research and biology. In the future it won't be just Pfizer that invents new things. It’s a two-way conversation though. While science is being demystified, these startups can also learn from institutional research. ITO LED A PANEL THAT EXPLORED THE ADVANCEMENT OF BIOTECHNOLOGY EDUCATION THROUGH ENTRY-LEVEL TECHNOLOGIES, SUCH AS RAPID DNA PROTOTYPING (RDP) KITS, #SCIENCEHACKS, THE SYNBIOTA PLATFORM AND CITIZEN SCIENCE INITIATIVES IN SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY. ON THE DEBATE ABOUT THE HUMAN/NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY BLUR: Thirty years ago Time magazine ran a cover about the first test tube babies. Now IVF is covered by medical insurance. It’s interesting to look at what we think is ok now, and how that will change. Our kids today won’t remember a world without smartphones, and therefore probably won't fret about their children using the internet. It’s a moving target. Art and design are leading exploration in this area in a non-threatening way. The Museum of Modern Art has exhibited leather jackets made of grown stem cells. We’ve also had pieces explore bioluminescence. ON INNOVATION: In general innovation is being democratized. We’re seeing it occur in workshops from East Detroit to Nairobi. One interesting development I’m seeing is contextual innovation. In different parts of Kenya, if you can’t repair it locally it doesn’t work. Hence you have lots of devices being designed around materials you could find in a junkyard. Every region of the world is fundamentally different. These innovators are leveraging the peculiarities of each area. But this can grow globally. Take Spotify. This launched in Sweden, outside of the U.S., because of the U.S.’ copyright laws. But now, because it’s thrived so much, it’s big enough to expand to the U.S. ON SXSW: The most exciting thing to me was the reaction to all this change at SXSW Interactive 2015. Not only was there a vast range of inspiring content. People seemed genuinely receptive and engaged in these new ideas. I look forward to next year, when this gets built on even more. ON THE RISE OF THE CITIZEN SCIENTIST: As a society we’re increasingly multi-disciplinary. No discipline exists in a silo. This is also being fueled by citizen sicentists who don’t care about silos. There’s a structural overhead on experimenting that doesn’t make sense. The cost to set up a lab meeting all regulations is still very high. But now, there are processes available that allow consumers to conduct tests in their own home. SXSWINTERACTIVE2015
  28. SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 J.WALTERTHOMPSONINTELLIGENCE 28 JWTINTELLIGENCE.COM SXSW INTERACTIVE 2015 28

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