SXSW by Francisco Samper Posted on


Contemporary, crowded, frenetic, nimble, disruptive: SXSW is like life itself. With tons of things happening at the same time, it demands making decisions, on the go, to choose what to attend, and sacrifice other things, just as interesting.

The Festival brings together the three pillars of today’s communications: film, interactive and music. It’s the place to understand about innovation and creativity in every aspect: from the upcoming technological developments, to the more human aspects like the convergence between science and spirituality. This year’s talks covered subjects that ranged from an analysis of Neymar –not as a football star but as owner of his own YouTube channel- to the introduction of the flying car –man’s longstanding dream-   that hadn’t been achieved until this edition of SXSW, to Malcom Gladwell’s or Astro Teller’s (CMO of Google Inc.) thoughts…   

There are conferences, films, concerts, panels, workshops and tutorials run by mentors.  All in real time.  Everything simultaneously. The “exhibit rooms” are so full of ideas and astonishing developments that you could spend the whole week trapped in there, learning and opening up your mind… Undoubtedly, SXSW is the Festival that will give you the input to leave you thinking for days on end about your business, whichever it might be, but especially so if you’re part of the advertising business.   

Every corner of the impressive and magnificent Austin Convention Center, but also every hall in every hotel in town, every corner of every street, every bar and every restaurant: literally the whole of this University town (Austin has more tan 50,000 students) is occupied by the Festival.   

You will surely bump into much fewer of advertising’s creative divas walking about the premises. But you will certainly cross paths with writers, musicians, film directors, actors, designers, artists in general, with the CEOs of the largest and most influential global corporations, or the CMOs or the engineers that have managed to change the world with their discoveries and their ventures. People with real and huge influence in the development of today’s new life patterns.

SXSW also reminds you that there’s nothing more dangerous than to think “we already know everything”. You come here and realise how little you know.

Because of all this, I’ve reached the conclusion that if you want to know what’s happening in the world of advertising, you should probably attend Cannes. But if you want to find out what lies ahead in the world of science, technology, cinema, business corporations, talent management, the world, life in general and hence in the world of advertising, the place to go to is SXSW.