Want to Know Which SXSW Events Are Must-Sees? Ask This Chatbot

‘Survival Guide’ aggregates the best panels and parties

Mobile messaging company Snaps built a Facebook Messenger chatbot exclusively for SXSW.
Headshot of Lauren Johnson

Marketers, startups and media are descending on Austin, Texas this week for the annual digital marketing festival South by Southwest Interactive, where they’ll navigate hundreds of parties, panels, parties and activations. Did we mention parties?

Making sense of SXSW—and figuring out which events are actually worth attending—can be a headache for the unprepared and neophyte. That’s why mobile messaging company Snaps, which powers mobile messaging and commerce for brands like Nike and Marriott, built a Facebook Messenger chatbot exclusively for the festival.


First, Facebook users need to search for the chatbot dubbed “SXSW Survival Guide” in Facebook Messenger. From there, they’re prompted to pick information on panels and tips. Asking for tips pulls up a GIF of a guy dancing at a party with copy that reads, “SXSW is all about spontaneity. Embrace it. Serendipity can be engineered. You can always meet amazing people at the Four Seasons.”

The bot also curates the conference’s panels down to a few sessions each day that marketers may be interested in. Tomorrow, for example, Snaps recommends attending the “AI: Transforming Luxury, Fashion and Beauty” with panelists from L’Oreal, Reveal, Heuritech and the Fashion Innovation Alliance. In terms of parties, don’t miss Fitvent, a Friday event that exclusively focuses on health and wellness brands, says the chatbot.

There’s also an emoji keyboard app that adds themed graphics like microphones and VIP passes to messages.

One thing the chatbot can’t do: Cure a hangover.


@laurenjohnson lauren.johnson@adweek.com Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.
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