Daily Recap 2: Data, DDB, and Ja Rule

Madison Seely continues her festival recount in her Day 2 Recap.

Saturday marked my first full day at the festival, and Saturday morning marked my first failed attempt to get into a panel. After trekking across Ladybird Lake to the Hyatt where there was a promising advertising panel I’d marked in my calendar, I found myself just a little too late: the doors were marked ‘at capacity.’

This experience highlights one of the most valuable lessons you can learn at SXSW: you win some, you lose some. And if you find yourself locked out of a panel, don’t fret; there’s fifty others happening at that moment alone.

In my defeat I grabbed a coffee and headed back towards Rainey Street to another panel entitled “B2A Marketing: Selling to the New AI Consumer,” which promised a new spin on a fairly common topic at SXSW. The panel discussed the future of shopping and how bots and devices are set up to do the heavy-lifting for consumers in the near future. This shift presents a new crop of problems for brands and marketers, including figuring out how to make a brand appealing to the bot itself and making sure to build a talented team of people to fulfill the promise of marketing to AI in an advanced way. The panel also discussed how the relationship brands have with their brick and mortar stores will inevitably change, but also how we can count on the fact that as long as there are humans there will always be innate attachments to certain brands that bots cannot account for.

After leaving this panel I walked to the Nerdist House which was nearby and ducked under their backyard canopy to get out of the rain. To my delight I checked the Nerdist programming schedule to see what I’d arrived in time to watch, and up next was a panel discussion with comedian Nick Offerman! He looks just as Ron Swanson-like in person as you’d imagine. He discussed his upcoming film “The Hero” co-starring Sam Elliott and what it was like to work with such an old-school film actor and what he’s been able to learn from him in the process. It was a great discussion about art, career aspirations, and the making of a film.

After that panel I grabbed lunch at a nearby fried chicken food truck and then made my way to DDB New York’s Forum for Good. When I arrived the room was already bustling with activity and people passing around business cards. DDB NYers Cheryl, Tim, and Alexander juggled several conversations as I chatted with a graphic designer from London who specializes in providing services for socially conscious nonprofits and companies. Cheryl told me later that she got great feedback on the decision to make the session a meet-up because everyone felt comfortable to share their experiences with each other and mingle at their leisure, and I could tell that was the case as I observed the room. Congrats to the whole DDB New York team on a great session!

From there, a handful of us went to go watch Tribal President of U.S. Operations Rich Guest talk about authenticity in advertising on a panel featuring none other than Ja Rule. Not only was it a treat to watch Ja Rule and Rich along with the other panelists banter about how brands are now held accountable for their messaging, but it was awesome to watch Ja Rule discuss his brand Fyre and how he’s taken his adult life to transition from hip-hop artist to mentor and business professional. Rich discussed how brands in 2017 have to live up to their messaging because they can’t hide anything from their audiences anymore; they have to operate under the assumption that everything they do is visible to their consumer. He also discussed how the message from Tribal’s recent #ThrowShine campaign for 3 Musketeers was so successful that a local high school independently created a ‘Throw Shine Day’ where they actually put together a whole program using the brand’s messaging. Great job to Rich Guest – I know I would’ve been star-struck up there if I’d been you!

From Rich’s panel I went to Max’s Wine Dive to help prepare for the DDB Happy Hour. It didn’t take long until the first wave of DDBers arrived (shout-out to Copenhagen), and then more followed suit. The rest of the evening was spent mingling between countries and putting faces to names from our inboxes. It was great to see so many people from DDB around the world connect and share their festival experiences. Here’s to making #DDBTogether a reality!

You could say my day came full-circle when later that night I tried to squeeze my way into a film screening only to be told, once again, there was no space left. But Sunday is a new day, filled with more panels and film screenings to try!

Madison Seely Corporate Communications Associate DDB North America