SXSW Preview Day 3: Your Data and Your Brain

Every year, SXSW Interactive (aka Geek Spring Break) gets a little bigger than the year before. To make things easier, we’ve combed the list of panels, looking for the best opportunities for affiliates and marketers. Each day this week, we’ll highlight a different day of panels at SXSW and provide an overview of the content.

The Sunday of SXSW Interactive is also a little rough because it also marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. So if you can remember to set your clock ahead before collapsing in bed, we recommend you check out The Hispanic Persona Project at 9:30 a.m. This solo presentation by José Villa (Sensis) will take you through the thinking behind the project and review four Hispanic Personas with the goal of starting a discussion about the digital behavior of this community.

As Villa discussed in an earlier article:

If you think about it, the Hispanic advertising industry came to be based on the simple notion that translating general market advertisements into Spanish was not enough to be effective and to connect with Hispanic consumers. Our industry places a heavy emphasis on cultural insights and relevance. With the Web environment, we have the opportunity to add another dimension to our strategic planning – understanding and addressing Hispanic consumer online behavior via the use of personas.

If you’re serious about marketing to the Hispanic community, make the effort to attend this session.

You’re Rights as a Consumer

With Google’s recent privacy policy change and personal data usage by marketers on the rise, the timing of We the People: Creating a Consumer’s Bill of Rights at 11 a.m. Sunday is perfect. This session will feature Anne Bezancon (Placecast) and Shane Green (, and since it’s a Core Conversation, plan to participate as they create a privacy bill of rights on the spot.

As Green notes:

In talking about reform and creating a new model, we must put individuals firmly at the center of the framework. This means giving them the tools to drive demand for their valuable data resources to transform the current model into a “user-centric” one. With individuals truly in control – and looking out on the world from their perspective – every other principle and right about privacy falls into place.

Part of getting what you want is showing up, so if you care about this discussion, add this session to your schedule. It should prove particularly interesting given the recent unveiling of the Obama administration’s Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.

What Our Brains Tell Us to Buy

We’ve managed to make a “science” out of everything, and buying is no exception. In  How Brain Science Turns Browsers into Buyers, some of the wiliest guys in the game will take the stage. The panel, which starts at 11 a.m. on Sunday, includes, AK Pradeep (NeuroFocus), Brian Clark (Copyblogger), Derek Halpern (Social Triggers), and Roger Dooley (Dooley Direct).

Focusing on techniques and application, this panel will walk you through the science of why people do what they do. Despite our belief that we’re rational creatures, the research supports that we often make decisions, including what to buy, based on emotion and unconscious processes. Attending this session will show you just how wrong you are and what you can do to apply the science to your business.

Using Humor to Sell

We all have our favorite kind of funny. Some people are drawn to Monty Python others to Jerry Seinfeld, but advertisers often fail to connect funny with effective. In Funny People Can Make You Buy Dumb Things, three panelists, Andy Currie (Grey Advertising), Jim Beiderman (The Onion News Network), and Tony Mennuto (RadioFace), will draw on their expertise to explain the missing link that makes funny work.

From a major study in the Journal of Marketing we know that:

…humor is more likely to enhance recall, evaluation, and purchase intention when the humorous message coincides with ad objectives, is well-integrated with those objectives, and is viewed as appropriate for the product category. Under such circumstances, humorous advertising is more likely to secure audience attention, increase memorability, overcome sales resistance, and enhance message persuasiveness.’

Remember the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man In The World” campaign? Panelist Andy Currie was the advertising creative director and writer. There’s also the promise of a recognizable (not sure what that means) guest from the comedy world. So if you need to take a break and laugh a little come to this 5 p.m. session and enjoy the results of a fake ad campaign (for a ridiculous product).

Data: The Next Hot Commodity

Data is clearly a hot topic with the SXSW crowd this year. For the data hungry, there are two sessions on Sunday to whet your appetite.

In the first session you’ll hear from two presenters who compare data to oil. And maybe the comparison makes sense when you learn that the World Economic forum describes personal data as a “new type of raw material … on par with capital and labor.” Michael Fertik ( and John Clippinger (MIT Media Lab) believe it’s the case and will focus this Core Conversation their project, Data is Oil.

To get an idea of where they’re coming from, consider Fertik’s idea for a privacy vault:

“Imagine an even better world in which we provide for you a data privacy vault and you put all the data into that vault. Every time someone wants to get access to it they pay you for it,” said Fertik. “You actually get to benefit from the fact that your data is the new oil and you get paid for the mining of your data. That’s an easily achievable world from a technical perspective, it just requires true grit.”

In the second data session, you’ll hear from Ashkan Soltani, Declan McCullagh (CNET/CBS Interactive), Lillie Coney (Electronic Privacy Information Center), Molly Wood (CNET/CBS Interactive), and Will DeVries (Google). With people on both sides of the debate over personal data, this panel promises to be a thought-provoking one.

We know our personal data is valuable, but to the question the panel raises, can we trust the market to “protect it” or do we need regulation?

In case you missed it, here is SXSW Preview Day 2: A Case for Industry Evolution.

Tomorrow I’ll highlight the top panels for SXSW Interactive on Monday, March 14.

About Britt Raybould

Britt Raybould has a passion for telling stories and she specializes in helping companies figure out how to tell their own stories. Through her firm, Write Bold, she shows companies how storytelling can define them, both to their customers and within their industry. When she remembers to, Britt blogs on her personal sites at and You can find Britt on Twitter @britter.

Twitter: britter

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