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An energizing journey to net zero at SXSW

Creating an inspiring space to showcase Shell’s energy innovations and drive dialogue with consumers at an influential festival. 

Imagine starting a conversation with Shell consumers by transforming a music venue at a world-famous festival. We created Shell House at SXSW at the iconic blues club, Antone’s so that festivalgoers could learn more about their journey to net zero.  

This is the story of how we created an interactive and vibrant space to learn and network by day, and listen to music by night.

Check out our case study video, or, if you prefer, read the details below.


The challenge.

The annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas, is a three-week showcase of the latest innovations in tech, film, music, and culture. It has a huge number of interactive and informative experiences competing for the attention of an influential audience. Shell wanted to create a dialogue with consumers and share a sense of progress and positivity around their journey to net zero.

This was a rare opportunity for Shell to interact with their end consumer and gain insights on what they knew about the energy sector and its future.



The intelligence.

We got to know our audience to inform every element of this project. 

The audience at SXSW contains Energy Sceptics and Energy Supportives. The Sceptics tend to be young and affluent and don’t believe energy companies are a force for good. The Supportives are ready to be advocates, but may not fully understand Shell’s plans to reach net zero. This audience is future-focused, loves technology, and wants to explore what’s next.   

Shell has always been an innovative company, which looks to the future and explores new technology. They needed to engage the audience in the concrete measures they are taking to reach net zero by 2050, in a way that reflected their innovative nature and brought the audience on board.  



The solution.

We created Shell House at SXSW at the iconic blues club, Antone’s, Austin, so that festivalgoers could learn more about their journey to net zero. Our theme was Energise, highlighting the idea of energy as an invisible source of power that invigorates a space. 



The first floor was a vibrant presentation space by day and an energetic music venue by night. The second floor was home to brand activations and our “recharge lounge,” where visitors could take a break, network, and recharge their phones. The brand activations included an “energy quiz” vending machine which gave participants a free gift, two VR experiences exploring hydrogen technology, and an interactive map explaining Shell’s work across the US. 



The results.

We were delighted with the level of interaction from visitors to Shell House. Of our 3445 visitors over the three days, 92% visited all spaces, while 90% of those who visited the immersive gallery used the digital experiences. At 5 of our 11 talks, there was standing room only.


I think that everyone that I’ve worked with is super talented. I think that they’re amazing and knowledgeable at what they do.

Ophelia Ugwu, Events & Experiential Project Manager, Shell


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