SyFy turns heads with pop-up hotel at SXSW to promote upcoming ‘Defiance’ launch

By Cory Bergman 

If you’re going to get noticed at SXSW, you better think big. While Mashable may have won the best publicity stunt contest with the appearance of Grumpy Cat, SyFy turned heads and generated lots of social attention with a pop-up hotel. The marketing effort was designed to promote the debut of Defiance, a new show and multiplayer game launching on April 15th.

Built out of storage containers, the 3-room hotel was designed to “recreate aspects of the futuristic world of Defiance in downtown Austin.” Next door, residents could visit the “social lounge,” meet others and jump on the internet.

The rooms featured minimalist design, a 24 hour concierge service, round-the-clock security, their own bathroom and shower facilities and twice daily maid service. To kick things off, SyFy invited Jesse Rath, a Defiance Cast Member, to stay in one of the rooms. As the festival went on, the three rooms were booked mostly by media types.

Storage containers are bigger than you might think.

The view from the rear where the bathrooms are located.

Visitors could interact with the “Need/Want Social Bar,” which encouraged people to share their needs and wants, which were then displayed on an interactive wall and in social feeds. Selected participants won prizes via Twitter. The top “want” of SXSW? Bacon.