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Summary:

It’s hard to stand out in a crowd of thousands, so some companies went big with their marketing stunts. Here were some of our favorites from the weekend.

The location-centric app Highlight put Highlight t-shirts on some adorable dogs in Austin this weekend to promote the company. (And gather up dog fans.)
photo: by Eliza Kern

When it comes to SXSW, it appears that the accepted mentality is go big or go home. And that doesn’t just apply to raging parties, open bars, or the number of times you say the word “innovate.”

As The Onion so perfectly noted, SXSW is a haven for marketers and advertisers looking to make more people aware of their companies and products. But a tent and a sign doesn’t exactly cut it here (sorry, Samsung Galaxy tent.) This is a time for the big guns. And people went all out.

Below are photos of some of the most absurd or bizarre marketing stunts we saw this weekend. Know of one we shouldn’t miss? You can leave a comment or tweet at us if we should check something else out:

TaskRabbit SXSW 2013

TaskRabbit rolled out a rabbit van, and you could see the fur blowing in the pre-thunderstorm breeze.

Checked out the Flickr app? Flickr representatives let you take your photo in the Flickr filter, upload them to the app and then print out.

Checked out the Flickr app? Flickr representatives let you take your photo in the Flickr filter, upload them to the app and then print out.

Glow in the dark drinks at MIT Media Lab's party.

Glow in the dark drinks at MIT Media Lab’s party.

Hootsuite put together an owl bus and had it rolling through town.

Hootsuite put together an owl bus and had it rolling through town.

AT&T provided colorful charging lockers for you to hook up your devices.

AT&T provided colorful charging lockers for you to hook up your devices.

Highlight also rolled out popsicles, with the co-founders handing out treats for people to photograph and then tag on the app.

Highlight also rolled out popsicles, with the co-founders handing out treats for people to photograph and then tag on the app.

Google debuted talking basketball sneakers at SXSW, and set up a small basketball court and playground for participants.

Google debuted talking basketball sneakers at SXSW, and set up a small basketball court and playground for participants.

This dude told me he wasn't marketing anything but apparently does infomercials all the time in his question mark suits. My skepticism really shines through here.

This dude told me he wasn’t marketing anything but apparently does infomercials all the time in his question mark suits. My skepticism really shines through here.

The ride-sharing company Lyft broke out a different kind of transportation in Austin this weekend: piggyback rides. The company's representatives donned  the well-known mustaches to give people rides around town.

The ride-sharing company Lyft broke out a different kind of transportation in Austin this weekend: piggyback rides. The company’s representatives donned the well-known mustaches to give people rides around town.

The location-centric app Highlight put Highlight t-shirts on some adorable dogs in Austin this weekend to promote the company. (And gather up dog fans.)

The location-centric app Highlight put Highlight t-shirts on some adorable dogs in Austin this weekend to promote the company. (And gather up dog fans.)

Livefyre rented out a firetruck, really amping up the crazy car genre.

Livefyre rented out a firetruck, really amping up the crazy car genre.

 

A pedi-cab driver dons a panda suit to give rides around Austin. Companies like Uber were giving rides all through the weekend as a promotion.

A pedi-cab driver dons a panda suit to give rides around Austin. Companies like Uber were giving rides all through the weekend as a promotion.

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  1. Taylen Peterson Monday, March 11, 2013

    The guy in the question mark suit is Matthew Lesko. He does indeed do infomercials (at least he used to). I remember seeing them TV in my high school days. His books are all about how to get free money from the government for all sorts of things like health care, women entrepreneurs, and college loans.

    1. Pic#1 reminded me of Dumb and Dumber, as did the tenor of your last sentence

  2. Tom The Nerf Herder Monday, March 11, 2013

    And here I thought the infomercial guy was cosplaying as The Riddler and happened to be color blind.

  3. The question mark guy lives outside of Washington, DC and dresses like that every single day. Seriously, he has a whole wardrobe of those suits. I’ve seen him around town on his own time, running errands or whatever, and he’s always in a question mark suit. So, um, show some respect.

  4. The question mark guy spends about $3MM of his own money on marketing every year. Hope you grabbed his contact info and some advice.

  5. Matthew Lesko FTW. Also it was fun to ride in our fyretruck.

  6. Sorry, was this SXSW or Burning Man?

  7. Also this one: http://youtu.be/kGEO8qX4LfY An Irish start-up Soundwave (www.getsoundwave.com) hired these street dancers to rep the brand- but the street cleaner dance-off was actually accidental! Only in SXSW…

  8. Greg Monterrosa Friday, March 15, 2013

    yea http://MyLLC.com brought out Matthew Lesko as part of a Find Lesko campaign.

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