Yamamoto Lately
March 2019


Yamamoto sent a senior creative team to Austin to find the best of the fest.

SXSW Interactive is one of the largest celebrations of technology, culture and communication of the calendar year. Anywhere from 200K and 400K creative individuals visit the conference each year, and this year, Yamamoto sent two Sr. Copywriters, Brenna Ruiz and Vince Koci, to listen, learn and look alive. They came back with a book’s worth of insights (and they’ve threatened to write it), but we asked for their greatest hits instead:

Your one sentence impression of SXSW Interactive?

A well-oiled machine of hype and curiosity, liberally seasoned with extremely talented and interesting people.

Biggest trend?

Unsurprisingly, storytelling. Narrative and world-building is on the tip of everyone’s tongues right now. Even the simplest execution should tell a story—otherwise you’re not keeping up.

Biggest trend that DID surprise you?

Isolation, re: social media and screen time engendering a sense of disconnection. Integrating experiences and communication into physical spaces with human participation was a huge focus.

Biggest trend that surprised you but really shouldn’t have?

Scooters. No fewer than five brands (Bird, Lime, Jump, Spin and Lyft) on every corner. Apparently, the market can support a lot of competition. Apparently, your scooter company has to be four letters, no exceptions.

Thing that made you go “woah.”

Firefly brought an actual rocket engine onto the exposition floor. The intersection of once-future tech and popular culture is becoming stranger than fiction.

Thing that made you go “huh.”

“Is your brand truth really a brand truth, or is it just a brand belief?” –Your Truth vs. The Truth panel.

Thing that made you go “yikes.”

27% of young people can’t go an hour without checking their phone. -Is Social Media the New Fast Food panel, CASSANDRA, 2019.

Thing that made you go “ew.”

The communal bean vat at a traditional pit BBQ joint that will remain nameless.

Thing that made you feel old?

There are TV series produced only for Snapchat, and apparently they are already old news.

Thing that made you feel young?

Lots of billboards using emojis…unironically.

Thing you had to look up to make sure it was true?

Light pixels take more energy to display than dark pixels.

Favorite quote?

“Do you have a brand identity? Or do you actually just have some colors?” -Rosie Kropp, Sr. Advisor, Lavandel.

Favorite bite?

72-hour Short Rib Nigiri, courtesy of Chef George at Uchi.

Favorite activity?

Turning Coca-Cola into a coffee company in the Brand Transformation workshop prospective 45-minute pitch.

Favorite activity—off the clock?

Cocktails and Secret Walls live illustration battle, featuring DJ Audio Jack at the Showtime House.


Incredible experience. As fun as we expected, and even more illuminating. Absolutely worth every minute, and a definite destination for creative growth.