SXSW, an interactive, music, and film festival all rolled into one event, began in 1987 and today is known as an incubator of culture and trends. During the 10 day festival, the city of Austin, Texas is visited by over 63,000 attendees flocking to see the best in innovation and entertainment.
With our Boundless headquarters being nestled in the heart of Austin on historic Sixth Street, we felt that the festival was a perfect opportunity to make connections, have a bit of fun, and spread what we call “Brand Love”. During SXSW, swag is handed out on the streets like candy, and people hit exhibit after exhibit looking for the best free gifts. We believe in the power of promotions and wanted to demonstrate the effectiveness of creatively sourced, valuable branded products. The marketing team set out to create a campaign that would generate buzz with the street traffic from the festival, as well as demonstrate the creativity and effectiveness of promotional products. In order to meet these goals, the persona “Swag Santa” was created to generate attention, and popular retail-like products with bold designs were handed out to promote the hashtag #SwagSanta on social media.
Festival goers, from kiddos to actors in zombie costumes, were excited by the Spring Break themed Santa and his neon entourage, and lined up to participate. After rolling a large die that determined if they were naughty or nice, they either drew for a prize or walked away with a sack of coal. Prizes included neon colored lounger bags, koozies, wireless earbuds, visor sunglasses, and canvas totes. The products were branded with the tag “BE BOLD. BE BOUNDLESS.” to go along with the bold and bright colors that were featured in the campaign.
The street team received enthusiastic responses to the products and had over 350 interactions in the span of 2 ½ hours. Along with the impressions made by the street team, the campaign also generated social media buzz and the use of the hashtag #SWAGSANTA on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. In a festival that draws a diverse crowd, one thing everyone had in common was their love of great swag. Not all swag is created equal, and we were able to give out gifts that people were genuinely excited to receive. The success of the campaign and resulting buzz demonstrated the effectiveness of promotional products, and their ability to spread the #BrandLove!
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