Slingshot Goes SXSW

South By Southwest, or SXSW, kicked off in Austin last week and four Slingshotters were there to experience the digital creativity and cutting-edge technology that the festival has become known for. SXSW provides a great chance to see how technology is changing our industry so we can be forward-thinking for our clients.

Julie Bowman and Clay Coleman attended creative-focused sessions while Whitney Redman and Kristy Ladner focused on emerging technology. Below they share some of their favorite nuggets of information. 

Clay Coleman, Senior Art Director

  • Technology should not overpower the concept; it should bring out what's best about an already good idea. Like Ansel Adams once said, “There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept”.
  • When your message makes someone feel something (anything), they remember. Emotional advertising is powerful, but it must be authentic.
  • Be curious about as many subjects as possible. The power of inquisitiveness can change your life; you never know what it will inspire.
  • Hulk Hogan is still strong.


Julie Bowman, Senior Creative Director

  • Nobody follows a pessimist. People want to be inspired.
  • In the new Talent Economy, it’s not about where you go to work, it’s about who you go to work with.  The company is no longer enough; it’s the existing people that attract new talent.
  • No one likes to be oversold. Explain yourself then stop talking and listen.
  • Body language can tell you anything you need to know.  Is someone lying to you? Follow their eyes.  If they look up, they’re sourcing the creative part of the brain.  When people look down, they’re sourcing the memory part of the brain.
  • Life’s short. Live urgently. - Henry Rollins, renaissance man

SXSW Julie1SXSW Julie2

Whitney Redman, Digital Presence Strategist & Front End Web Developer

  • The idea of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is actually scientific and not just a funny word to say! When we see something on social media, the feeling of FOMO disrupts the hypothalamus (the place in our brain that links the nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary gland) and creates adrenaline. This makes you want to go and do the same thing!
  • If you can take a normal task and make it at least two seconds shorter, people will latch on. Remember the simple app YO? It took alerting/contacting to a new level. It spread the word on Israeli communities in danger– in real time.
  • 25% of users abandon a site that takes 4 seconds or longer to load. Performance matters.
  • While the Internet of Things is booming, it needs to become person-centric (the Things before the Internet). Solutions need to start providing actionable insights for consumers. For example, implication of taking X number of steps. Consumers don't want data from IoT devices. They want that data turned into recommended actions to better their lives!
  • If you want to see cool and innovative technology, find the Japanese section at the trade show.
  • There’s no shortage of branding opportunities at SXSW.

SXSW Whitney

Kristy Ladner, VP Digital Presence

This year’s SXSW was more mind blowing for me than years past with legit presentations on artificial intelligence and mind clones, holograms, beacons, augmented reality, robots, 3D audio, drones, and virtual reality. The biggest takeaway for us as an agency is really the level of immersive storytelling that we can begin telling for our clients.

  • Virtual Reality is the ultimate storyteller, giving a deep sense of immersion with sight and sound
  • 3D audio is as important as visual in putting you in a scene, making the digital world more like the real world
  • Adding touch, texture, motion, smell, etc. to Virtual Reality makes the experience that much more real.  The Samsung Insurgent VR experience added vibrations and wind to make me really feel like I was there (see pic).
  • Cinematic VR is the next advancement for movies after 3D
  • Augmented reality allows for layers to be added to stories that are unique to the viewer’s location, preference, etc. making stories hyper-personal
  • 3D printing allows for tangible storytelling as story worlds can come to life and unlock new adventures.
  • Connected homes and cities begin to react to you instead of you reacting to them
  • Live-streaming is the next genre of mobile-social apps that will become mainstream over the next year.  Apps like Meerkat and Periscope allow you to live stream wherever you are and whatever you’re doing to the Twitterverse.  Think of the implications for telling live stories from travel destinations, concerts, sporting events, breaking news, etc. 

SXSW Kristy

Posted Fri, Mar 20, 2015 by Whitney Redman, Kristy Ladner, Julie Bowman, Clay Coleman in News, Fun