My very first time at South by Southwest (SXSW) and all I can say is, wow. I don't think anything could have prepared me for the diverse crowds of exhilarating creatives, futurists, brand innovators, social media experts, and just those who have come to have a damn good time.
Walking around the various locations in Austin, Texas, it is clear that the interactive part of SXSW is as important as it has ever been. After all, it's the place where Foursquare became Foursquare, and Twitter got its launchpad into stardom.
Luckily, it is not just me who is here for the first time. As I walked through the corridors of the convention center, I bumped into Oreo man, who was also navigating his way around for his first ever appearance at SXSW.
The U.S.' favorite cookie is here to showcase its new on-the-go packages and has created its own "grab and go" studio that will give SXSWers the chance to go to some of Austin's coolest hot spots.
Visitors are grabbing a pack of Oreo Grab & Go, saying "cheese," and getting their photo snapped in front of an iconic Austin location. Those in-the-know about Texas' capital and guessing the location correctly are scoring prizes that actually get them there.
Each day during Interactive, Oreo will randomly surprise those at SXSW who send a photo of themselves in and around Austin, the chance to go somewhere unforgettable, explains Steve Doan, senior associate brand manager, Oreo at Mondelez International.
One tweeted photo and the #oreograbgo hashtag might unlock a special meet-and-greet with one of SXSW's famous faces, a private meal with an Interactive keynote speaker, or a once-in-a-lifetime experience in and around Austin, Doan adds. For example, he says, someone will win a shopping spree with former "Project Runway" contestant Althea Harper to her favorite boutiques in Austin. (Let that be me!)
You can follow all of the SXSW Oreo happenings via Twitter (@OREO) using the hashtag, #oreograbgo, and check out the Grab & Go Studio pictures on Instagram to see where everyone's "going."
Doan concludes: "As the brand that's all about creating new, unexpected moments of fun, the interactive Oreo booth and via Twitter is the best fit for our "on the go" audience.
Observation and recommendation: The delectable delights of snacks/food coupled with social media and technology seem to be changing the edible landscape at SXSW Interactive. There are several panels that will be sure to tantalize your taste buds, but here are just a couple that we recommend:
Eating to Live Online: Virtual Food and Real Life - Monday, March 11, 11 a.m. Sheraton, Capitol EFGH
The Social Media Chef - Monday, March 11, 12:30 p.m., Hyatt, Ballroom 1-4
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Melanie White is the Editor of ClickZ, where she has worked since July 2012. White has been with Incisive Media (ClickZ's parent company) since 2009 where she was Deputy Editor/ US Editor for one of the financial risk management titles, International Custody and Fund Administration (later Custody Risk).
In addition, White worked on FX Week where she was a Senior Reporter. She has also worked and contributed to a number of other titles, including The Accountant, International Accounting Bulletin, the New York Post, Independent Magazine (UK), as well as the broadcast title Sunday Live with Adam Boulton at Sky News.
December 12, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT