SXSW Super Sponsor Chevy Multi-Part Austin Activation

In keeping with South By Southwest’s polymath, multi-disciplined tech/music/art/media span, official car sponsor is rolling out a suite of activation initiatives at the 2013 festival.


Chevrolet has been the main auto sponsor of SXSW festival for the last four years in the twin roles of both ‘Super Sponsor’ and ‘Official Ride’.


From its ongoing ‘Catch A Chevy’ programme (which gives attendees free rides in its 50-strong festival fleet of Cruze Eco and Malibu vehicles), to its ‘Drive a Chevy’ offering (which is a test ride-and-drive style promotion pushing its Camaro, Corvette, Equinox, Sonic, Spark and Volt models), the auto brand is highly visible in Austin, Texas this week.


It is also hosting two separate hospitality and experiential spaces at the event. The main ‘lounge’ located in the Austin Convention Center takes its title from Chevrolet’s current global marketing tagline ‘Find New Roads Lounge’, while the hipper ‘Chevrolet Crossroads’ pop-up style hangout offers relaxation and reclining facilities, plus recharging stations and features a DJ using Chevy’s own MyLink infotainment system in the Sonic compact car.


Other activation elements include using Chevy Volts as part of a program in which the car and its EcoHub platform assists in a smart-grid program supporting a University of Texas-based carbon-footprint reduction program. This takes place at Austin’s Mueller Community, an emerging 900-acre sustainable urban development on the grounds of the closed Mueller municipal airport which has now become a small city.


Chevy also has a programme of events and is promoting its Spark model at the event’s major trade show, while it is also hosting a set of social-media panels called ‘Tweethouse & Technology’ that include Chevrolet’s Digital and CRM Director Andrew Dinsdale, and OnStar’s VP Nick Pudar.


These panels, which take place during the afternoons at Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, aim to celebrate the social web and the people who are creating and evangelizing technologies that are defining the future.


In terms of festival events themselves, a series of Chevy sweepstakes offer festival goers access to private events, music wristbands and side-stage platform passes at Auditorium Shores.


These can be won by first registering at the brand’s SXSW website and then by scanning displays at the Chevrolet venues, by checking in using Foursquare and joining in the social conversation using branded hashtags @Chevrolet or #ChevySXSW.


‘We understand that connectivity drives creativity, so we hope to fuel attendees’ overall experiences by providing ways to stay engaged while on-the-go at SXSW,’ said Chris Perry, US VP of Chevrolet Marketing.




Last year, the centrepiece of the brand’s activation saw Chevy run a social-media led program for SXSW 2012 called ‘Chevy SXSW Road Trip’ – which saw five teams drive Chevys to the festival navigating via OnStar and providing real-time social media travelogue/dialogue.




This year it might seem that Chevrolet has gone a bit over the top with so many elements to its activation programme.


However, the brand certainly needs to invest in its presence and leverage its rights at SXSW, because, while it is the official auto sponsor, other car brands typically have a strong presence across the festival too.


So Chevy needs to make sure it stands out if it is to maximise its rights investments.


For example, in 2012 Toyota ran a branded event based around a bicycle inspired by Prius, while Ford spoke on stage about connected cars (while in 2010 Fiat sponsored the multi-day ‘Fader Fort’ SXSW party.




Chevrolet At SXSW Website



Chevrolet Facebook Page



Chevrolet SXSW Twitter





South By Southwest 2013




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