We were told that the parties were the best thing at SXSW. Not just for the free bars, free food or drink – the secret is they are the best way to meet people. Last night we went to two very different parties for two very different brands.
We’d walked past Brazer Hall quite a few times and noticed they were setting something up. It was a Yahoo house, and we managed to drop into their launch of ‘Burning Love’ which is an online TV spoof of a reality dating show. The venue itself was swanky and large. But rather like the brand, there was no-one there.
I took advantage of their Flickr photo booth and gathered some freebies but there wasn’t anything as engaging as the interactive installations we’d seen elsewhere. Like the brand itself. A fresh hell continued when the ‘stars’ of the ‘show’ took to the stage and embarrassed themselves by being utterly boring and un-engaging. One of them even broke into song which lets you know where this was going. We left shortly afterwards.
The Mashable party a couple of blocks away was a very different affair. Okay, we queued for probably an hour to get in. And it was packed. Somehow we managed to get in and find a corner of the rooftop with our own area and seats. The corner turned out to be an Internet magnet. We hung out with the man behind the infamous Nyan Cat meme, Scumbag Steve, and the manager of both who also manages the infamous Grumpy Cat. I met a friend I hadn’t seen in seven years from Wieden & Kennedy and was able to intro her to students. Likewise a guy from a Melbourne ad agency. Also an ex tutor from Ravemsbourne. The networking continued even in the bathroom, chatting to a girl from a digital agency and a lady from Amnesty International. Five minutes later I was chatting to a guy who manages Mumford & Sons, then some girls from a future lab agency. It was insane, and I couldn’t help thinking how lucky our students are. They might have financed the trip themselves but the opportunities at SXSW are priceless.