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SXSW Day 2: Diversity, drones and TikTok
The power of small businesses on TikTok
For TikTok, becoming an advertising powerhouse means showcasing what the app can do for small businesses. During the pandemic, plenty of small businesses took to TikTok to give customers more behind-the-scenes access, and in some cases, this led to a sales bump.
Sani, which sells South Asian clothing, started posting on TikTok and found a new audience interested in wearing Indian-inspired fashions. Up to 60% of Sani’s revenue comes from organic TikTok marketing, according to Ritika Shamdasani, Sani's co-founder. “I can’t say the same for Facebook ads,” Shamdasani said at the conference.
Chicago-based Munchiez, which sells sweets and savory snacks, has also seen its TikToks bring in customers, sometimes just to meet the employees behind the videos. The company said it is taking TikTok fans into account as it decides where to open its second location.
NFT interest is clear at SXSW, with some of the longest lines leading to activations like Fluf World and Doodles. Fluf launched last year with rabbit-based NFTs, and its fairground attracted workers from some of the biggest tech companies, like Snap, Meta and Disney, according to people who were attending the site throughout the week.
Other NFT creators also drew a crowd. Doodles, the NFTs reminiscent of children's drawings, did a recent Snapchat integration and partnered with Behr Paint at SXSW. Blockchain Creative Labs, SXSW’s first Web3 sponsor, displayed NFTs at its event space and hosted a project to “mint” NFT profile pictures.
Lessons from Black dads
During a session over the weekend, GroupM CEO Kirk McDonald shared a personal story about his son receiving a felony-level ticket for driving less than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit—an infraction, he said, his son's white friends would have never received. He hoped the story would highlight how prominent stereotypes are, and that marketers need to do more to address them.
McDonald was joined by Porscha Scott, director of marketing and events at Wavemaker; Kendricks Thacker, founder of 100 Roses from Concrete, a platform for people of color in the ad industry; and Sean Williams, founder of The Dad Gang, a space for Black dads. They discussed the mental and emotional toll of being Black in the marketing world, especially in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Philando Castile.
Thacker encouraged brands to listen first before taking any action around social justice issues and to give their platforms to advocacy groups, creators who understand the issues.
Up in the sky! It's a QR code.
On Sunday evening, SXSW attendees and Austin natives were surprised by 400 drones. The swarm, courtesy of Paramount +, formed a QR code to promote its upcoming sci-fi series "Halo," based on the popular Xbox game about a warrior fighting off an alien invasion. According to The Hollywood Reporter, reactions ranged from fear to being impressed.
Video Game of the Year
The winners for the eighth annual SXSW Gaming Awards were announced on Saturday. There were 40 nominees across 12 different categories, with wins going to Resident Evil 4 for VR Game of the Year; Kena: Bridge of Spirits for Indie Game of the Year; and Final Fantasy XIV: Endwalker for Video Game of the Year. A list of the nominees and winners can be found here.