SXSW is no stranger to big-money activations, where corporate sponsors pay a fortune to turn an Austin parking lot into something massive and unusual to promote their brand. AMC once put a miniature re-creation of Coney Island, complete with a Ferris wheel, on Congress Avenue. Doritos used to pay artists like Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube to perform from inside a 40-foot-tall vending machine. And while SXSW has changed in recent years, the ridiculous events are still very much a part of the festival in 2019. This time out, the buzzword is “immersive,” and two of the biggest names in entertainment—HBO and Amazon Prime—are both competing for the title of the fest’s most-talked-about event, as they promote Game of Thrones and the forthcoming miniseries Good Omens, respectively. The “immersive” part of the experience that each brand brought to Austin is a theatrical spectacle in which visitors interact with costumed characters who are essentially live-action role-playing their way through the event. This stuff isn’t new—the New York theater performance Sleep No More popularized it as high art in the early ’10s, and it’s not really much different from a haunted house or a renaissance faire—but as brands continue to look for ways to bring… Read full this story
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