SXSW: Where Virtual Becames Reality

SXSW: Where Virtual Becames Reality

By Andrew Hudson

It’s fitting that almost exactly a decade after Twitter launched in Austin, Texas, that SXSW would herald in the next great tech trend if our time. 

VR was the standout highlight of this year’s festival, reflected in widespread media attention, some notable appearances from household name brands and consistently high social activity. Again, we’ve worked with Brandwatch to pull it all together.

The graph below is an at-a-glance look at how conversation around VR fluctuated at SXSW, starting with a tangible build-up of excitement in the days prior to the festival kick-off.


As festival-goers indulged in the innovations and brand showcases utilising VR, the chatter peaked – and plateaued –from the 14th – 15th, coinciding with the interactive component, before a gradual decline towards the festival’s end.

But what received the most attention?


The brands showing off their technology were front and centre of interactive events, with frontrunners Samsung and Oculus stealing spotlights, surely thanks to their presence on the ground. Interestingly, Playstation VR seems to have tapped into the public consciousness, shouldering out better known contenders like HTC Vive.


And what about those adopting it? Some brands garnered some interesting attention for their implementation of VR.

McDonald’s’ ‘Decorate the interior of a Happy Meal box’ brand experience got particular attention, presumably not just because it sounds a bit weird, and reminiscent of Nintendo’s sleeper hit ‘Splatoon’:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.18.08 Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.17.42

Excitingly, even NASA was providing space bound VR adventures of its own:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.54.43

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 11.54.20

And a more risqué topic got some pretty serious attention too. If there’s any proof of concept needed, we guess. VHS vs Betamax, anyone?

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 12.06.18

If there’s any proof of concept needed, we guess. VHS vs Betamax, anyone?

This is the latest in our series examining the social conversations of SXSW with Brandwatch. For more, you can see our previous posts about Obama’s keynote and our piece on gender disparity. 

Got any VR questions you want to ask us? Send them to @mycleveragency and we’ll talk virtual!

This post was written by Andrew Hudson

Andrew is myclever™ Agency's copywriter. Like all great writers, he's sensitive, deeply introverted and has a diehard penchant for knitwear.