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Special Project

Special Project
From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards


Entered in Hashtag, Twitter


When you and 30,000 of your closest friends arrive at South by Southwest Interactive, the excitement and anticipation are quickly followed by panic and FOMO. With more days, more attendees, more speakers, more sessions, and more caffeine every year—how do you get the most fun and value out of your experience? Where do you even begin?

As a boundary-breaking mentor brand, we wanted to clear some pathways to make everyone's experience there more fun, inspiring, and thought-provoking. In short, we wanted to make it the #SXSBest year ever.

Strategy and Execution

Our solution, the #SXSBest hashtag, gained momentum before the festival even began, when we surprised SXSW's biggest social influencers with our Discover & Recover Kit, providing everything from much-needed hangover remedies to a pocket-size guide to Austin, full of ready-to-tweet tips that also benefited their loyal followers.

Upon arrival, every single attendee received a lanyard emblazoned with the hashtag and our handle: a constant reminder to participate in the platform, whether by contributing to the conversation or simply following along with what SapientNitro curated for them. This was our way of going beyond a simple logo sponsorship to quite literally integrate into the fabric of the SXSW experience, letting each attendee discover and drive their own #SXSBest experience.

On the ground, SapientNitro people from all disciplines and geographies hunted for the #SXSBBest—from the SXSBest content at the intersection of technology and storytelling to the SXSBest cup o' joe—and encouraged others to be heroes of the crazy community that is SXSW by curating and contributing, as well.

Dead phone battery? Sudden rainfall? Overcrowded session? We had folks strategically placed in Austin and monitoring social conversations to let attendees focus on the great content, providing everything from reserved front-row seats at crowded sessions to umbrellas and chargers to random lucky followers. Huffington Post raved, "Two…brands beat everyone else with smart marketing. SapientNitro delivered lunch to my co-worker and I at our booth, after I complained on Twitter of malnutrition due to long lines and a lack of time for food consumption."

For those following along at home, we recapped the best moments and insights about story & technology in quotes and videos, both planned and on the fly as the #SXSBest occurred.


Our drive to guide the SXSW experience paid off, with 17.2 million impressions during the week of SXSW Interactive, reaching 3.6 million people and—more importantly—creating a community of people looking to get the most out of their week in Austin.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

SapientNitro, SapientNitro


Entry Credits