Bumble Is Using SXSW to Make Intimate Connections With Attendees

A smaller activation space and one-to-one interactions bring the brand closer to festivalgoers

Bumble customized a cafe at SXSW this year. Laura Delacruz
Headshot of Kristina Monllos

Bumble wants to make deeper connections with South by Southwest attendees this year. That’s why the social app—which is best known as a dating app where women make the first move—took over a smaller space in Austin (Joe’s Coffee on 2nd Street versus warehouse event space Fair Market) but extended the length of its activation to run for all of SXSW, March 8-17.

“From a production perspective, it certainly takes just as long to plan something like this,” explained Chelsea Maclin, Bumble’s vp of marketing. “From a one-to-one connection with our users, it’s easier for us to have that facetime with them in a smaller space.”

Dubbed the Hive SXSW and created by Bumble’s in-house team, the activation is themed around Bumble’s new badges that gives users the chance to say more about themselves on the app. For example, to bring the “animal lover” badge to life in Austin, Bumble is staging canine-themed events like a dog-lover brunch.

The smaller space was designed to encourage one-on-one interactions.

The Hive also gives attendees the chance to meet with profile doctors to help optimize users profiles, speed mentoring sessions and, for those interested in astrology, get a birth-chart reading.

“From an education perspective, a lot of the public perceives Bumble as a dating app, but we are so much more than that,” said Maclin. “We’re a connection platform for friendship finding and business networking and hiring and recruiting over time. We want to educate our users and potential users on all the different ways they can use Bumble and how we can help facilitate meaningful connections across love, friendship and business.”

Special programming, like a talk with director Olivia Wilde and the cast of her new film Booksmart, as well as free tacos and coffee are also part of the experience.

@KristinaMonllos kristina.monllos@adweek.com Kristina Monllos is a senior editor for Adweek.