6 of the Buzziest Network Activations at SXSW

The intersection of creativity, tech, brand marketing, music festivals and celebrity appearances — South by Southwest is here.

A veritable playground for entrepreneurs, marketers and the media, Austin’s SXSW has become the place to showcase groundbreaking innovations and find creative inspiration, and this year, networks and streaming services have flooded Austin to drive buzz about their new series and seasons.

Read on to see how these brands have used the platforms to make statements and promote their upcoming work.


AMC’s replica of the “Breaking Bad” chicken-slash-drug-dea joint Los Pollos Hermanos is so lifelike, SXSW-goers and fans of the show are sure to be in heaven. AMC created the pop-up to welcome Gus Fring, the chain’s owner, to the third season of “Better Call Saul,” the spinoff of “Breaking Bad.”

Details from the show are littered throughout the replica, from the first glance at the fictitious eatery’s sign to an infamous car from the series parked outside. See it all in Adweek’s video.




What better way to market a show about a high school mystery than myseriously planting school lockers around Austin? That’s exactly what Netflix did to promote its new original series, “13 Reason Why,” which unravels a mystery about why a high school girl committed suicide. The different lockers located around SXSW featured character-specific props from the show and other familiar high school accessories. 

National Geographic

National Geographic may have claimed the Big Game’s best ad with its “Bad Romance” spot, but the brand isn’t slowing down in its promotion of its upcoming scripted series, “Genius.” National Geographic’s SXSW activation, “Further: Base Camp,” is an augmented reality playground that allows festival-goers to physically experience Albert Einstein’s groundbreaking thought experiments. Learn more in the video above from Adweek.


HBO fans were in for a treat this year at SXSW. The network created an elaborate escape room — modeled after the sets of “Veep,” “Silicon Valley” and “Game of Thrones” with impressive detail — that transported festival-goers into the worlds of the popular series. 

“We still like to do traditional marketing, but going the more nontraditional path—and doing interactive, immersive experiences—allows the consumers to touch and feel the world of the show,” HBO’s VP of marketing Joanna Scholl said in an interview Adweek. Watch more above.


Another network to join the fray this year, TNT used its SXSW presence to promote its new show “Animal Kingdom,” premiering next month. The network’s pop-up used the series’ Southern California setting as its inspiration, installing a giant wave pool that allows users to actually surf the waves and learn from surf pros. Accompanying the centerpiece is a custom sneaker bar, food trucks and a beer garden. Check it all out in the Adweek video above.


Bravo decided to lay it all out there at SXSW this year — quite literally. To promote its new reality series “Stripped,” in which participants are stripped of their material goods for three weeks, Bravo organized a flash mob of models stripped down to only nude undergarments. Their bodies were painted with #Stripped and the Bravo logo.

“We feel [SXSW is] an amazing platform, and we can show how Bravo is on the cutting edge of consumer and social media marketing,” Bravo/Oxygen’s VP of marketing Adam Zeller told Adweek. Watch the flash mob unfold in the video Adweek captured above.