Why American Greetings Disrupted SXSW’s Digital Spirit With an Analog Activation

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A greeting card company isn’t the first (or second or third) brand you’d expect to stage a massive activation at South by Southwest Interactive. And that’s exactly why American Greetings wants to disrupt the festival’s digital focus with a fully analog event.

“The human brain works in an analog fashion,” said Alex Ho, executive director of marketing for the Cleveland company. “Our role at SXSW is not to say that analog is a replacement for digital or is more or less relevant—it is simply that digital and analog are complementary and they both have unique roles in today’s world. Analog and digital are not at war; they are complementary.”

More Experiential Marketing Activations From SXSW That You Need to See.

To get this message across, the brand took over 325 E. 6th Street in downtown Austin, Texas, for a three-day promotion aptly titled #Analog. It ends today and features paper crafts plus speakers like designers Stefan Sagmeister and Aaron Draplin.

Festivalgoers can try their hand at do-it-yourself printmaking and pop-up cards (American Greetings calls this “paper engineering”). They also can learn about lettering techniques from an American Greetings’ artist, get a selfie stitched with thread by fashion designer Michael-Birch Pierce, fill in a coloring-book mural by Kelsey Montague, or create an analog GIF and then record a video to share on social.

All of this was meant to remind SXSW Interactive attendees of the fun they can have with paper. In the video above, Adweek spoke with Ho and Draplin about the scope of the activation and why analog still matters.

Stitched selfie at #Analog by @amgreetings by the amazing @michaelbirch #southbysouthgabe #SXSW #almasxsw

A photo posted by Gabriel Ferrer (@gabes_eyeballs) on

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