It's interesting that SXSW Interactive awards, known for celebrating the best interactive work, awarded top honors to an inherently analog piece of work: a logo. Maybe it's a sign that audiences are fatigued with razzle-dazzle technology, or that it's more compelling to show the power of digital media than just use it for flashy purposes.
Because if it wasn't for the power of social media and the Web at large, marriage equality would have never had a voice so loud as a pink equal sign on a red background.
The effort was launched just before two marriage equality cases were due to be heard by the Supreme Court. LGBT lobbying group HRC turned the interwebs red that week, asking people to change their profile pictures into a pink-and-red version of the group's logo. Corporations like Bud Light, Maybelline and Absolut chimed in with their riffs on the symbol, as did political leaders. Celebrities (including Beyonce) and and many others did too, which quadrupled traffic to the HRC's homepage.
The logo also won in the Social and Digital Campaign of the Year categories.
The awards had 15 main categories and a few special ones like "People's Choice," "Breakout Digital Trend" and "Speaker of the Event." The show also added Joi Ito, Director of the MIT Media Lab, into its Hall of Fame.
Among winners coming from the ad world were Goodby, Silverstein & Partner's "Work4Rich" site, which won in the Business category, and McCann New York's "Quietest Show on Earth" project for Nature Valley, which won in the Community category.
Work from down under also earned honors. Missing Persons Preroll, created out of VML in Australia, hijacked the typically ignored online video medium and turned it into a method for broadcasting missing persons information for the Aussie police and took the prize in Activism. Earning the Technical Achievement honor was Remote Control Tourist, created out of Clemenger BBDO Melbourne and directed by Tool's Jason Zada. It promoted tourism in Victoria by allowing online browsers to virtually visit the area through a pair of real world explorers who could be controlled remotely through social media.
The Martin Agency's "An Idea Lives On" interactive site, for the JFK Presidential Library, also created with Tool, won in the Film and Television category. "Just a Reflektor," Arcade Fire's follow-up to "The Wilderness Downtown" also won in the Music category. That project was done in collaboration with the Google Creative Lab, Unit9 and director Vincent Morisset.