Interactive tales take center stage at SXSW

The Cassandra team is at SXSW, where immersive environments have long been expected of brands but where the story behind the space is sometimes lost in the pursuit of showcasing new technology. Rather than make tech alone the focus, these companies are making the art of storytelling central to their activations and highlighting the human element.


At Story HQ, YouTube partnered with some of the industry’s brightest creative minds to reimagine classic stories and invite people to explore the long and short of modern storytelling. Folklore and fairy tales like Hansel & Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella were modernized and digitized but with a twist—attendees had to touch or turn parts of the exhibits to make the corresponding videos come to life. For example, the reimagining of Rumpelstiltskin revealed itself after attendees played with piles of gold. All tales are available for viewing at The Greatest Stories Retold.


As social platforms continue to evolve into modern media networks, young people’s content expectations from brands and friends alike have been heightened. Reflecting this shift, We’re Magnetic invented a variety of creativity-driven activations at Facebook HQ in Austin, including interactive ATX-inspired Instagram Stories video sets designed to help people tell more thoughtful stories on social media. The company also featured block printing with Analog Research Laboratory, which promotes openness, creativity, and community within Facebook through art and design.


Sony’s aptly named “Wow Studio” let visitors experience a variety of playful and visually dazzling interactive exhibits like VR Soccer and its Interactive CUBE, which, as Mashable noted, resembled a digital hamster ball. It also featured a Hero Generator, which let people create avatars of themselves and star as the protagonist of their own short film, helping them feel like they’ve been transported to a real-life VR movie shoot. Movies could also be rendered and shared to a smartphone for later viewing.