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With SXSW 2018 upon us, Blast is again gearing up for a busy two weeks. Visit this guide as the festival approaches for updates from Blast, clients, partners and friends including The CMO Club, eMarketer, Smartbrief, AdCouncil, MAX (Music Audience Exchange), Mood Media and Social Native. Check out our day x day guide to find out which sessions to attend and learn more about:

  • The CMO ClubHouse @ SXSW in conjunction with MediaLink
  • Our annual Sunday brunch with eMarketer, SmartBrief and the Ad Council
  • Fantastic official SXSW sessions led by clients Mood Media and MAX (Music Audience Exchange)
  • A great party at a Secret House!
  • These year’s Interactive keynote speaker, whurley!

If you’d like more information or to get in touch with any of the brands or organizations we are supporting, please contact me directly at [email protected] or call or text: 512-970-8310.

whurley speaks MAR 13, 2018 | 2:00PM – 3:00PM, AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER, BALLROOM D, 500 E Cesar Chavez, #quantum

Here’s where we’ll be. Come hang!

Friday, March 9

10am: First time at SXSW: Hugh Forrester kicks off the annual event with a ‘Welcome to SXSW’ address. Attend to get a roadmap of the best official sessions and activities. (Austin Convention Center Ballroom D)

11am – 2am: The Deep End by Vox Media: The first of three days of unfiltered storytelling, interactive experiences, musical spotlights, live podcasts with Kara Swisher of Recode, Ezra Klein of Vox, Nilay Patel of The Verge, and more. (THE BELMONT, 305 W 6th St)

12:30-1:30pm: How Bottom-Up Privacy Models Will Save The Net: Bren Briggs (Maxwell Health) and Josh Chin (Net Force) discuss how sweeping changes in data privacy law will soon force businesses & organizations to radically alter data management & privacy policies on a mass scale. (JW MARRIOTT SALON 7, 110 East Second Street)

3:30-4:30pm: Why Ethereum Is Going to Change the World In this session, Forbes Senior Editor, Laura Shin, interviews Joseph Lubin, founder of ConsenSys and co-founder of Ethereum, the most powerful blockchain system that can be publicly and permissionlessly accessed from anywhere in the world. Lubin will explain how he first became interested in blockchain, why he joined Vitalik Buterin on the Ethereum Project, and why he started a company as uniquely structured as ConsenSys. Additionally, he will share his vision for a decentralized future enabled by this technology. (AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER, BALLROOM D, 500 East Ceaser Chavez)

3:30-4:30pm: SXSW Report on Trust: Gov’t, Tech & Media: Join the legendary Dan Rather, Heather Brunner (WP Engine), Jess Clifton (Edelman Digital), moderator Richard Edelman and host Hugh Forrest (SXSW). SXSW and Edelman have partnered to launch a special report of the Trust Barometer – Edelman’s annual study on the state of trust in institutions, industries and media. This new edition explores the opinions of the SXSW community, giving context for the relationship between our creative, influential community and the entities with which we interact. (JW MARRIOT SALON FG, 100 East 2nd Street)

5:00-6:00PM: Facebook and Publishers – The Evolution Of News: Sara Fischer of Axios, Alex Hardiman of Facebook, Steve Rosenbaum of Magnify Media and Brian Stelter of CNN discuss a timely topic. Facebook has become for many Publishers – an addiction. Plug into the social network, and you’re hooked. But now Facebook is forcing publishers to go cold-turkey, shutting off the firehose of clicks and likes that has become an audience addiction. So, what happens next? Can Publishers find a new way to connect with digital audiences? Will Mark Zuckerberg’s new search for “Time Well Spent” include any portion of news in the Facebook digital diet? Will pressure to solve the “fake news” problem mean throwing out trusted news sources as well? (JW MARRIOT SALON FG, 100 East 2nd Street)

8-11:00pm: SXSW Interactive Opening Party hosted by Accenture Interactive @ Micheladas, 333 E 2nd st

Saturday, March 10

The CMO Club @ SXSW in conjunction with MediaLink @ The W Hotel (This is a private event that will connect CMOs and Future CMOs throughout the festival. If you are a brand CMO or journalist and would like to find out more, please reach out to Peter Krainik [email protected] at The CMO Club or Lana [email protected] (Invite Only. Agenda subject to change)

  • 12:30 – 1:00 PM The CMO ClubHouse is Open
  • 1:30 – 2:00 PM Burning Bush – Getting Your Company to Care, Emily Culp, CMO, Keds, Kevin Moffitt, Chief Digital Officer, Office Depot, Eric Reynolds, CMO, Clorox, Jennifer Warren, CMO, Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • 2:00 – 2:30 PM Beating the Big Guys – We Don’t Need no Stinking Big Budget, Terry Haley, CMO, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, Nicole Portwood, VP Brand Marketing, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Nerissa Sardi, VP Marketing, Medici
  • 2:45 – 3:15 PM Hire Slow and Fire Fast – Wait, What Am I Missing, Ellen Junger, CMO, Helzberg Diamonds, Megan Lueders, VP Marketing, Zenoss, Trish Mueller, recent CMO, The Home Depot
  • 3:15 – 3:45 PM Leading Real Transformation vs Lip Service, Cheryl Gilberg, CMO, Mizuho Americas, Melissa Hendricks, CMO, Cerner Corporation, Ty Shay, CMO Norton and Lifelock, Symantec
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM eCommerce – Let’s Make it “Yipee Commerce”, Ryan Linders, VP Marketing WholeFoods, Steve Sarner, Head of Sales and Ad Solutions, Goodreads – an Amazon Company, Andrea Ward, CMO, Magento Commerce
  • 4:30 – 5:00 PM There is an “I” In CMO – Making the Right Technology Decisions as CMOs , Camila Casale, CMO, Softtek, Jorge Pederzini , Head of Global Marketing Chili’s, Brinker International
  • 5:00 – 5:30 PM Experience Matters: Customer Experience That Is: Renee Baker, CMO, Carillon Tower Advisers, Chris Curtain, CMO, VISA, Lee Applbaum, CMO, Patron
  • 5:30 – 7:00 PM Surprise Artists and Cocktails

9:30-10:30 am Increase CTR with 1:1 Content Marketing People today are spending just 1.7 seconds with any piece of online content. Not even 2 whole seconds on something it took weeks and potentially thousands of dollars for a brand to create. Join moderator Jeff Ragovin, Chief Growth Officer from Social Native, and executives from Coca-Cola, rag & bone and Facebook to discuss how marketers are utilizing personalized marketing solutions to predict content relevancy and increase performance. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL B, 100 Red River Street)

11:00-Noon More Data, More Problems: Transparency in 2018 Hear from PMG’s Price Glomski, Bazaarvoice’s Toby McKenna, Dell’s Atul Singh and Sony Electronics’ Jennifer Sugarman. A recent study by Ad Age and Bazaarvoice revealed that over 75% of the buy side is not confident that their data partners are hitting in-market consumers. On top of that, only 35% of marketers are confident that they know where their data is sourced from. Plus, more than half your budget is spent on tech fees that you don’t even know about, leaving only 40 cents on the dollar to focus on reaching the customer. How can brands, agencies and the industry do better? (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL C, 100 Red River Street)

11:00-Noon GenZ Marketing Meet Up Hear from IG Marketing LLC’s Ishan Goel. A lot of Gen Zers are jumping on the entrepreneurship train because of the vision for success. Selling candy bars out of their backpack in elementary school, drop-shipping gear late into middle school and launching full out businesses in high school. Companies aren’t seeing this trend and large enterprises should take advantage of this time instead of dropping random scholarships, launch incubators and hackathons. Since school doesn’t encourage leadership and creativity our fortune 500s should. (JW MARRIOTT, ROOM 207, 110 E 2nd St)

Sunday, March 11

9:30AM – 1 PM: SXSW Sunday Brunch co-hosted by eMarketer, Smart Brief and Ad Council in association with Blast PR . If you are a brand, publisher or technology executive, please join eMarketer, SmartBrief, AdCouncil and Blast PR for our annual Brunch on Sunday, March 11th. This exclusive brunch is where the industry’s elite meet to refresh, relax and network amidst a hectic SXSW schedule. Stay for a few minutes or a few hours…whatever works for your schedule. Bloody Marys, tacos and plenty of water and great conversation help us all ease into Daylight Savings each year.

This event is by invitation only. To request an invite, email [email protected] (Swift’s Attic, 315 Congress Avenue (Upstairs), Austin, TX 78701

11:00-Noon How Brands Who Speak Gen Z Slay Hear from Thesis’ Dwight Caines, Something Massive’s Rebecca Coleman, SheKnows Media’s Samantha Skey and Maddie by Maddie Ziegler/Nowadays’ Elizabeth Toney. Move over Millennials: Gen Z just graduated and they are less loyal than generations prior. With data at their disposal, Gen Z is all about efficiency, transparency and customization. Marketers who use technology to speak Gen Z’s language are capturing their attention and share of wallet. This panel will walk marketers through new strategies for engaging Gen Z across multiple channels, visuals and service offerings. Learn how to reach the generation that is shaping the future of commerce. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL B, 100 Red River Street)

3:30-4:30PM: Facebook IQ: The 5 Consumer Shifts Shaping 2020 By the year 2020, more people will have mobile devices than running water or electricity at home, mobile will generate half of US ecommerce and 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human. Join Facebook’s Toma Beczak and Ann Mack as they discuss the future now to learn which of these shifts you can leverage for relevance and success tomorrow. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL B, 100 Red River Street)

6:30pm – The Digital Fork Dinner @ LA Condessa with Social Native ( limited to 12 CMOS) contact

8:30pm: Dance the Night Away with Social Native at Justine’s Secret House, a very hush hush opulent Victorian house with New Orleans style garden, all hidden away on East 7th Street by a magical fenced-in courtyard lined with palm and loquat trees draped delicately with cafe lights.. Part Chateau Marmont, part haunted New Orleans Victorian, part Parisian salon, this space is exclusively used for private events.

Tuesday, March 13

9:30-10:30 am Driving Audience: If You Build It, They Will Not Come: Audiences drive nearly every business, influencing everything from startup valuations to ad rates. To engage these audiences, advertising is not enough. Successful content needs to provide value to audiences, wherever they are. With perspectives from The New York Times (Alex Rainert), Google (Emily Wood), Timehop (Rick Webb), and Huge (Meghan Graham), we’ll share successful approaches to creating narratives that attract and monetize audiences amidst today’s fierce competition for attention and awareness. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL B, 100 Red River Street)

12:30-1:30PM VR & Storytelling: What’s Next After Advertising? Hear from CNN’s Courageous Studio’s Otto Bell, Cadillac’s Riyhana Bey, MillerCoors’ Brad Feinberg and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise’s Marissa Freeman. In 2008, Seth Godin famously said, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” With native advertising and branded entertainment projected for $20B growth by 2021, to what extent has his prophecy come true? Join a talk led by Otto Bell, Chief Creative Officer of CNN’s Courageous Brand Studio, on taking the two-footed leap into branded content. Following, he will be joined by leaders across various industries to discuss how they are bringing brand storytelling into their marketing mix. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL C, 100 Red River Street)

2:00-3:00PM Convergence Keynote: whurley – The Endless Impossibilities of Quantum Computing Strangeworks founder whurley presents. Quantum computing isn’t just a possibility, it’s an inevitable next step. During his Keynote, “The Endless Impossibilities of Quantum Computing,” whurley discusses how it will forever change the computing landscape and potentially the balance of international power. Countries around the world are investing billions to become the first quantum superpower. When we say an emerging technology represents a “paradigm shift,” it’s often hyperbole. In the case of quantum computing, it’s an understatement. From advancing artificial intelligence and meteorology to driving breakthroughs in molecular modeling and particle physics, to creating next-gen cryptography, and even (potentially) threatening current technologies like bitcoin and blockchain, quantum computing will have an impact. Come discover what quantum computing is, where it’s been, where it’s going, and why it’s important to you. (AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER, BALLROOM D, 500 East Ceaser Chavez)

5:00-6:00PM : Music as a Corporate Social Responsibility Platform Hear from Mother Nature Network’s Joel Babbit and Chuck Leavell, Bayer Corporation’s Raymond F Kerins Jr. and Roll Call, The Daily Beast’s Patricia Murphy.Music brings people together in ways few activities can. How are brands tapping into music’s influence as a way to mutually build a better world? In this panel we’ll talk about ways music has impacted youth and why this is valuable to how we work cross-culturally. Music has led to new ideas for the environment and this in turn has brought together farming communities around the U.S. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL C, 100 Red River Street)

Wednesday, March 14

2:00-3:00PM Next-Gen Content Marketing: Reaching Digital Natives Hear from Netflix’s Mike Clarke, Pinterest’s Brian Monahan, Intuit’s Christine Morrioson and W2O’s Aaron Strout. We live in an age of an endless barrage of media. From streaming content on Netflix, stunning imagery on Pinterest and insightful long form and short form content from innovative brands like Intuit. How can you find your next customers by leveraging this content? How do we measure the effectiveness of this content? What can we expect next? Hear from three brand leaders on how research and insights power content, why camera is the new keyboard and how to create next-level social content. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL C, 100 Red River Street)

3:30-4:30PM For CMOs Knowledge is Power: Hear from Tom Jackson of Cambridge Analytica. If your marketing budget suddenly goes south, the CMO may feel the power slipping through their fingers. But does money actually equal power? According to Tom Jackson at Cambridge Analytica, the source is data analytics and behavioral communications. Through the application of behavioral science, marketers can make more efficient ad spend decisions by uncovering hidden potential customer pools. The CMO can rise as the hero of the company and increasing effectiveness at a decreased cost. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL A, 100 Red River Street)

Thursday, March 15

12:30-1:30pm Beyond Brand Impressions- Assessing VR’s True ROI: OMD’s Dario Raciti and SuperData Research’s Stephanie Llamas discuss how consumer virtual reality will boast 67M and $3.7B in 2017. But advertising opportunities in VR don’t come from the numbers – it’s about stronger brand affinity through consumer experiences. Audi, Gatorade, IKEA and others are looking past traditional KPIs like impressions and using immersive experiences to maximize ROI. Hear successful case studies and data-driven evidence to understand why & how brands should be involved in VR. (FAIRMONT CONGRESSIONAL A, 100 Red River Street)


Music experiences have long been shaped by tastemakers and playlisters seeking to present a defined experience on air, in commercial spaces and in streaming services. Those experiences are increasingly influenced by direct consumer interaction, now expected in an increasingly personalized world. How do we incorporate personalization while still promoting a specific theme or brand? In affording control, have we conceded the intended experience? Danny Turner will discuss this unique challenge. (Austin Convention Center, Room 10A)

5:00-6:00 PM Playola: Reckoning With Music’s Newest Kingmaker SPEAKERS ERIK BEIJNOFF, Spotify, JONNY DAWSON, ATC Management, JARRED GOLDNER, Music Audience Exchange, GEORGE HOWARD, Berklee College of Music, BEATIE WOLFE With music fans increasingly turning to playlists for music discovery and consumption, industry professionals are recognizing that premium playlist placement is the newest opportunity for a breakout hit. This panel brings together music industry leaders to discuss how new music gets onto influential playlists and what managers and artists should be thinking to compete in the streaming era. George Howard, Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music, will moderate this panel. (Austin Convention Center, Room 9AB)