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Brief Published: 13 Mar 2015

Cultural Kudos: Neiman Marcus at SXSW

Neiman Marcus at SXSW

Next week, US luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus will return to South by Southwest (SXSW) – the annual film, technology and music conference and festival held in Austin, Texas. The retailer is hosting a three-day happening dubbed 'Make Some Noise', conceived to celebrate women on the rise professionally.

From March 18-20, Neiman Marcus will take over an entire house on the lively Rainey Street. Each room will host daily art and music shows (accessible via an RSVP) and a series of panel discussions and events with female 'noisemakers' in the worlds of technology, fashion, film, music, food, art and business. The music will be curated by Julie Greenwald, chairman and chief operating officer of American music label Atlantic Records Group.

Adding retail into the mix, the house will also feature a shoppable showroom created in partnership with US payment platform Visa Checkout. Visitors will be able to digitally purchase fashion, accessories and beauty items from merchandised vignettes that mirror the Neiman Marcus 'Festival Boutique' page on the brand's main e-commerce site.

In a conscious bid to create engaging, 'Instagrammable' moments capable of creating maximum social media buzz (via the dedicated hashtag #NMMakeSomeNoise), the house also features multiple art elements. These include a user-generated pointillism mural, a sharable slo-mo video booth, and Paint Some Noise – an interactive video installation created by New York-based multimedia performance group Sweatshoppe. Guests use LED "paint rollers" to reveal layers of new informational content such as forthcoming panels, which will be projected onto the exterior of the house.

While the concepts is presented as a smart marketing promo to capture the festival's increasing number of attendees, it's also part of a wider strategy, according to the brand. Wanda Gierhart, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer of Neiman Marcus Group, stated that over the next three years, one of the brand's key goals is to embody the ethos of Make Some Noise – celebrating women of style and substance – in every facet of the business, via brand activations at future key cultural events.

For more on brands tapping into festivals and events, see Branded Festival Experiences, Brand Experiences at Coachella, Milan 2014: Branded Spaces, LDF 2014: Branded Spaces, Miami Art Basel 2014: Branded Spaces and Anthropologie's Pop-up.