5 of the Most Outrageous Stunts Pulled by Companies at SXSW

By: iCopywriter blogger, Kimberly Crossland

March 19, 2012

When products stop speaking for themselves and companies are stuck in an all-too-close proximity, attention-grabbing stunts start happening.

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a conference held each year in Austin, Texas, filled with musicians, artists, techies, startups, bloggers and an all-around large assortment of characters. This year’s conference was no exception, with companies pulling out more stops than ever to gain the attention they were seeking when signing up to attend. With the dotcom boost this year in the number of IPO’s we’ve seen being filed, companies were more eager than ever to get in front of the eyes of potential investors and VC companies that could bring them a fortune.

Here are a few of the craziest stunts we’ve heard of so far:

  1. The HootSuite Bus – Hooters were spotted on Congress and 6th street this year, but not the kind serving delicious wings in brightly colored orange shorts. Instead, these hooters were part of the “HootBus,” which shot “HootSwag” from a “HootCannon.” Those who were lucky enough to receive some of this swag went home with t-shirts and other HootSuite memorabilia – and perhaps a bruise or two from knocking fellow bystanders out of the way.
  2. Fifth Sun Street Dance – Fifth Sun is a maker of angry birds t-shirts. To garner attention, the company dressed half its staff up as pigs, and the others as birds, and had an all-out “West Side Story”-like dance in the streets. This full-blown brawl of pigs and birds, appropriately titled “Shake Ya Tail Feather” was hard to miss, even for non-SXSW attendees.
  3. Americans Elect Boxing Match – This non-profit agency, which is currently running an online presidential primary election, threw down its brand-building tactic in the ring. A boxing match was staged between actors dressed up in elephant costumes and donkey outfits.
  4. Bre.ad Sandwiches – Social media advertising company Bre.ad dropped a good chunk of money on hiring mascots dressed as large slices of blue bread. They encouraged conference attendees to become real human sandwiches and take pictures of themselves between these two oversized slices of bread. No doubt, this will gain some attention in the social media world when people begin posting their human sandwich pics.
  5. BBH Homeless Hotspots – As we wrote about in last week’s Freaky Friday blog, perhaps the most controversial stunt out of this year’s SXSW was the 14 “homeless hotspots” set up around the conference area. BBH hired local homeless people and provided them with the necessary equipment to become human 4G hotspots. Conference attendees could pay the homeless person providing Internet access a fee of their choosing, and connect their mobile devicesinflatable water game. This stunt raised quite a few eyebrows and has become one of the most debated stories out of SXSW.

There were dozens of other wild stunts performed by tech startups and other companies to try to gain the attention they so desired in such a crowded field.

What was one of your favorite stunts this year? We’d love to hear about it!

Have you checked out iCopywriter.com lately?


  1. avatarJenna Allison says

    I can’t believe the mobile hotspot via homeless man??? Who came up with that?? Great post guys, keep em coming! :)