‘The chaos is the magic of it’: Organic head on handling PR for inaugural SXSW Sydney

Havas Group’s entertainment communications and PR agency, Organic Pacific, got the call to do the PR for SXSW Sydney earlier this year. Reflecting on the event, managing partner Annabelle Gigliotti said it was a career highlight, and “so special to be a part of”.

The tech and innovation, gaming, music, film and TV, media and marketing industries came together last month for SXSW Sydney, a mammoth event spreading across the ICC Sydney, Tumbalong Park, Powerhouse Museum and University of Technology, Sydney, among other venues.

“Sydney felt alive, and it was the first time in a while it’s felt like that,” Gigliotti said.


“SXSW is nothing short of spectacular and it was so special to be a part of the first year,” she continued. “It was absolutely a career highlight for me and my team. I think because nobody has even done anything like that before, that’s why it was such a highlight for me.”

While many argue the event was chaotic, making it difficult to organise schedules and get to sessions they wanted to, Gigliotti said it was something people had to embrace.

“The chaos is the magic of it, you’re supposed to not be able to choose between the most incredible screen event, and the most amazing conference speaker, and the most amazing music thing,” she said.

“To have watched the evolution of people’s attitudes in the time we’ve been working on it, from ‘can they pull it off?’ to ‘they did an incredible job’, was really rewarding because I think we really met the expectations of what SXSW Austin has offered.”

She said working with the SXSW in-house team, including managing director Colin Daniels, as well as Thinking Loud, who did all the music publicity, and Present Company, who handled socials, was “incredible”.

“Working with those agencies, we all learnt so much from each other and it was so lovely to collaborate with them,” she said. “It was a pretty special experience.

“One of my biggest learnings was the importance of working with them and the way the SXSW team kept cool under the constant pressure, stress and scrutiny of everyone. They maintained such a positive and beautiful attitude throughout and it was pretty incredible.”

SXSW Sydney will return annually, and Gigliotti hopes to continue doing the PR and communications for the event.

Keep an eye on Mumbrella for the full feature with Gigliotti this week.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.