Project Name: WTF is my SXSW Panel?

The Hunch:

Every year, the advertising industry submits panels to the South by Southwest Interactive conference. Looking over the list, panel titles seem more like a collection of trending buzzwords and phrases than actual discussion topics.

The Idea:

We knew we weren’t the only ones who were fatigued with panel titles, and decided to show people how ridiculous panel titles had become. We created wtfismypanel.com, a SXSW panel title generator that strung together random buzzwords to create legitimate-sounding panels. And because it was based in a (somewhat ridiculous) truth, the site really resonated with folks.

Our Process:

We sifted through titles from previous SXSW festivals and collected recurring phrases and buzzwords, then organized them by category. We compiled them all into a single library, and then added in some random, completely unrelated words (e.g. manatees) to give it some flare.

The Tech:

Not ones to reinvent the wheel, we sought out an open-source solution and found the WTFEngine on Github. We simply plugged our library into the javascript library to produce our randomized titles.

The Results:

As soon as we launched wtfismypanel.com, we saw an instant reaction that people were enjoying it. By waiting to launch the site on the final deadline for panel submission, we managed to newsjack media outlets looking for a story, and even got a mention on Fast Company’s blog.

Because of the specific context, the site only experienced one day of glory. But what a day it was. 1500 views in the first few hours.

The Future:

From concept to execution, our team worked quickly enough to launch a product that had immediate, cultural relevance. We plan to keep working in a similar fashion, both for client projects and our own internal projects.

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