7 Best Grassroots Marketing Campaigns from SXSW 2015

South by Southwest (SXSW) is festival that takes place in Austin, Texas and is full of influential speakers, brands and companies sharing their latest. This year was the 22nd annual SXSW Festival and there were several amazing marketing campaigns that truly caught the attention of attendees.

In order to stand out and become the talk of the town, companies had to pull out their wildest ideas to generate buzz around Austin during this years SXSW festival. Here are some of the most interesting campaigns that I saw at SXSW 2015.

7)) Game of thrones pedicab

Game of Thrones Pedicab

Photo via Business Insider

HBO promoted Game of Thrones by hiring pedicabs to bike around the city and take SXSW attendees in their Game of Thrones themed bikes. Nothing too crazy, but it definitely was cool to see them biking around!

6) ) Disco heads

roikoi marketing sxsw

Photo via Business Insider

If you were walking the streets of Austin this year, you’ve probably seen these people walking around. It’s hard not to notice a couple people walking around with a discoball of sorts on their head. Roikoi is an employee referral program based in Austin, Texas that attracted a lot of attention with their digital disco ball crew this year.

5) Ex Machina Viral Marketing Campaign on Tinder


If you were in Austin during SXSW trying to look for that special someone on Tinder, you might have found more than what you were looking for. The marketing team for the movie Ex Machina created a Tinder profile for the main character, Ava and started some very innocent chatting with the men she matched up with.


Photo via Adweek

4)’s Human Squirls Reading Books isa better way to discover new books in your area. As you walk by a bookstore, you get insight into certain books and inspires you to discover a whole new world. The tech company wanted to use some grassroots efforts to promote their startup by getting a bunch of people in squirrel costumes to hang out reading books in different locations. It felt like no one else was doing anything similar, so this easy marketing campaign took such little effort yet made a huge splash at this years SXSW.

3) Hootsuite Owly bike-mobile


Photo via Jillian D’Onfro for Business Insider

Have you ever seen those party bikes where several people ride a bicycle at once while a person serves beer? Yea, well hootsuite had one of those bad boys with their mascot Owly on the hood. This Hootsuite party bike was seen all around town as people took this thing around. The only downside was there was no beer present. That’s ok though because Hootsuite had a rockin’ meetup that served plenty of refreshing beverages.

2) Grumpy Cat and Waffles by Friskies

Grumpy Cat SXSW 2015

Photo by Signe Brewster for ReadWrite

This feline internet sensation graced us with her presence at the Haus of Bacon in Austin, Texas this year for SXSW. Friskies also hired n airplane to fly all around Austin with a large banner with Grumpy Cat’s face on it. They also had Waffles the cat being all adorable as well. These felines drew quite a crowd at the Haus of Bacon, creating a large line and very large buzz.

Waffles the Cat SXSW 2015

Photo by Signe Brewster for ReadWrite

1) #MophieRescue by Mophie

MophieRescue Dogs SXSW

Photo via Alex Bracetti

This cute activation campaign certainly had the talk of the town and Twitter. Mophie, an extended battery company, created a small Rescue Lodge that housed several very adorable St. Bernard dogs. All around Austin, people were handing out small flyers talking about the MophieRescue and there were also flyers pasted all around town on the poles. Someone could tweet @mophie using #mophieRescue with their current location and a screenshot of their smartphone’s battery level for a chance to get one of these adorable canines to come to your rescue with a battery pack. Not only did the dogs themselves get just as much attention as Grumpy Cat, but the campaign generated a lot of social buzz on Twitter. The campaign also tied in with a social good cause by helping raise awareness of the Saint Bernard Rescue Foundation.

Written by Ryan Lum

Ryan Lum is the founder and editor of Creative Guerrilla Marketing. He is passionate about creative marketing, social media and design. Connect with him on LinkedIn,Twitter or Google+

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