Subway Takes Austin @SXSW

Yes, you heard correctly. I'm headed today to South by Southwest in Austin. Apparently, Subway is headed there too. In fact, it's the Subway brand's first foray at SXSWi in a big way. The brand plans to make a big splash for its Flatizza pizza by allowing folks to sample the new menu item around town.

As Austin becomes the epicenter of all things digital, cultural, and edible starting Friday, Subway Restaurants will serve up their new Flatizza. Jared Fogle, the Subway guy, will help fans get a taste of the restaurant's newest, but festival-goers will have an opportunity to experience #SXSUBWAY in many ways.

It's a well-planned-out 360-degree marketing effort, per the company, including activations like "Think Flatizza," a digital experience using unique wearable device technology powered by brainwaves. Last year at SXSW, a company called Interaxon demonstrated its headbands with EEG sensors that allowed the person wearing them to move images on a computer screen with a thought by sensing brainwaves and turning them into actions.

I don't know if the Think Flatizza campaign uses Interaxon technology, but a Subway spokesperson described the hands-free eating game as using brainwave-reading headsets to control or play the game. "It’s like a mind-controlled tug-of-war battle game where you have to focus and move a Flatizza to your side of the screen, away from your opponents," she said. "You’ll have 30 seconds to concentrate on the Flatizza, and when the counter reaches zero, you want to have the Flatizza on your side of the screen to win."

This is some of the craziness going on at SWSW this weekend. Subway is also hosting a Twitter competition to give away Subway “Eatovations” prototypes on display at the Austin Convention Center beginning Friday. Eatovations is an “exhibition” of the latest in wearable technology and devices that enhance the eating experience. If fans have an idea, similar to the device that enhances the eating experience of Flatizza, they are encouraged to tweet the idea to #SXSUBWAY for the chance to win one of the prototypes from this exhibit or a Subway gift card. Each day, a winning idea will be chosen and announced on the @SUBWAY twitter feed.

As the brands and advertising agencies take over Austin for a few days, Subway campaigns include Eat-ovations & Social Giveaways at the ACC; Brand collaboration with GrooveShark; Tumblr Meetup and Q & A  for the film "Neighbors" with Seth Rogen and Dave Franco; Social Scavenger Hunt featuring special surprise guests, Flatizza Toss; A hilarious integration with Jimmy Kimmel Live! onsite; Screenings of Fresh Artists and 4-9ers Hulu programming; and sampling of Flatizza on several street corners.

See you there!

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