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The Road to SXSW Begins Again for Y&R Asia CCO Marcus Rebeschini

INFLUENCER: Y&R Asia CCO Marcus Rebeschini on his first year attending the festival and being shortlisted in the Innovation Awards

The 21st annual Interactive Innovation Awards at SXSW recognize the most exciting tech developments in our connected world. The jury reviews hundreds of projects across 13 categories and selects the top five entries in each, honouring them among some of the world’s best and most forward-thinking innovations.


If you still need a little push to bring innovative work to your clients’ tables, here’s an incentive for your staff to start thinking about today for the next 365 days, when you enter SXSW and shortlist, you are granted two free tickets (in our case, with two shortlists we received four tickets to send our staff) to SXSW. Now what CFO wouldn’t love to hear the four-letter word: “free.”

This was our second time winning, but this time only shortlisting, at SXSW and my first time attending the conference in-person. If you’re wondering whether I managed to hear from Elon Musk or Bernie Sanders, and how amazing it was … I’ll respond to that shortly.

We were honored to be recognized with two shortlists in the Responsive Design and Student Innovation categories for TinyMos from this year.

As a shortlist winner, your team is given the opportunity to participate in the trade show where both jurors and the general public come to see your innovations in action. While I stood at our booth at 9am ready to show off TinyMos, attendees were rushing to grab tickets to watch keynote speaker Elon Musk. But throughout the day I had intrigued visitors from Canon, Fuji and even the US Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. And that is the one of the great things about this event, you see some of the largest and leading companies taking the time to explore and learn from fledgling companies and novices showing off prototypes.

It’s from experiences like this that in the distance, I don’t see advertising agency people much like myself. I see agencies that are partnerships with inventors of robots, bionic arms and battery powered Tesla type motorcycles working hand in hand with creatives to transform the work we do. 

While I may not have gotten to hear Elon Musk or Bernie Sanders speak, SXSW is a stunning experience. The thinking, the products, the talks, the 300+ trade show stands showcasing new innovative businesses’ at SWSX really make you look around and think I have 365 days to work with my team to go that next level for our clients. I think that’s what SXSW is about, we all want to keep up in this crazy fast, ever changing environment. 

A great way to start to focus your teams on generating innovative ideas for their clients is to use the Google philosophy of “20% time.” Even if you are not Google, I believe it is beneficial to encourage employees to pursue projects they are passionate about and think have strong potential for our clients. Of course, it goes without saying, if it seems like a hard to make an idea happen—then that’s great! It means there is nothing else like your idea out there, so there is no starting point to copy or follow. That’s the true sign of an innovative idea. Most importantly, anyone can have a great idea, we just need to find the means to bring it life.

So, let’s get started. You’ve got 365 days until the next SXSW Innovation Awards.

Marcus Rebeschini is Chief Creative Officer, Y&R Asia

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