03/08/2013 10:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Content Brief: What's Hot at SXSW?

From space exploration to 3D printing, this year's South by Southwest Interactive is thinking bigger than the next cool app.

Sure, everyone's still on the lookout for tomorrow's Foursquare or Twitter, but more people seem to appreciate that SXSW hype doesn't always predict future success. (Gowalla, we hardly knew ye).

Remember last year's "Highlight," the friend-locator app that everyone was in love with/creeped out by? They're back, and with some new updates. But anyone who rushed to anoint them SoLoMo Champions of the World are piping down this year.

As Elon Musk, founder and CEO of space exploration company SpaceX, gives a keynote address, and 3D printing pioneer Bre Pettis delivers the opening remarks, maybe there's more to SXSW after all.

Brands by the boatload are around every corner in Austin as well, though some of the gimmicks are a little much. Baby yams, really? Meanwhile, Pizza Hut is conducting searches for its next "Manager of Digital Greatness" at SXSW -- but every candidate only has 140 seconds to make a pitch for him or herself. They're using QR codes and Twitter hashtags to promote the search, and round two of the interview process takes place via Skype. Hopefully no one tells Pizza Hut about Instagram or they'll make the candidates take artistic pics of their favorite toppings to make it to round three.

Clever brands are as usual providing free rides, chill-out lounges and concerts. Esurance is sponsoring a promo called the Esurance Glove Box, which not only creates custom SXSW itineraries based on user profiles, but gives them a chance to win prizes.

And not to brag or anything, but we got to actually meet Grumpy Cat (who graced Austin courtesy of Friskies) at the Mashable House today.


Her influence is undeniable. Don't pretend you're not jealous.

Get the scoop on SXSW in the latest episode of "The Content Brief" from Freshwire below. And be sure to follow along with us as we chronicle our SXSW experience, Freshwire-style.

If you missed last week's Content Brief on the real-time marketing backlash, find it right here.