Chevy Taps Into SXSW Buzz; Before It Begins

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One of SXSW’s major sponsors, Chevy, is already trying to capitalize on the massive buzz around the conference with a few programs that got underway this week.

The company has sent a team of bloggers to road trip it down to Austin from their hometowns and document their journey.

Fleishman-Hillard is working with GM on the campaign. We spoke with Christopher Barger, Director, Global Social Media at GM, about the program. “A lot of what we’re doing [at SXSW] is very subtle,” he said. “We want to let people have the experience, rather than go out and put a brand on everything.”

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What is the company looking to get out of this, we asked?

“In the short term we’re looking at how many times it is being tweeted, how much interaction is taking place, how much it is being mentioned, how many posts or articles are out there. It’s traditional PR measurement.”

However, Barger said that the long term effects are “more important.”

“We don’t look at this as a nine-day campaign and then it’s over,” he said. “The more relationships and more long term engagement we can get out of this, is what it’s all about. ”

Chevy is also working with location-based mobile application Gowalla. Naturally we asked why they chose Gowalla as opposed to other services such as Foursquare. Barger said it was in part because Gowalla is Austin-based. “They knew this community, this festival really well,” he said.