Pulp Magic

APRIL 3, 2017

#PoweredByPaper Shakes Up High-Tech ‘South By’

I have heard for years about South by Southwest in Austin, the interactive festival known for debuting companies that would become household names, such as Twitter and Uber. Two weeks ago, we took the Paper & Packaging — How Life Unfolds™ campaign to “South By” and set up a 100% corrugated booth that featured a curated collection of paper and cardboard innovations that made up the #PoweredByPaper gallery.

The 20×20 booth, created of GoKarton, became a place for visitors to experience their inner innovator — with paper. Why? Because most great innovators start with an idea and a piece of paper —a fact that was not lost on anyone who stopped by. According to festival attendees I met with, paper was not only back, it clearly had never left! During a vibrant, jam-packed, hectic festival, the booth offered attendees a down-to-earth moment to be amazed by the simplicity and strength of containerboard and paper.   MCG_P+PB_SXSW__0075

Even more exciting was hearing the buzz that social influencers attending the show had to say. Linda Boff, chief marketing officer from GE, spoke on a panel about the power of print in GE’s communications mix. Tech blogger Liron Segev, aka the “Techie Guy,” did a fabulous video roundup about paper-based innovations that allow you to create and wire circuitry on paper and take a great nap —on a plane!!!! Meanwhile, renowned publications AdWeek and the Dallas Morning News marveled that our “startup” was disrupting this hub of high-tech creativity.


The decision to highlight paper and its limitless possibilities was based, in part, on SXSW’s favorable demographics. According to SXSW’s 2016 demographics report, 85% of attendees were within the age range of our campaign’s target audience known as the Expressives: ages 18 to 49, with 87% holding a college degree or higher.  In addition to attracting established industry leaders and the brightest of the next-generation of business minds, SXSW also attracts some of the world’s most talented tech and marketing professionals who know that their best ideas start on paper.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the world changed for the better when Albert Jones received a patent for corrugated cardboard in 1871. Today, more than 90% of all products in the U.S. are shipped in corrugated cardboard packages. Amazon alone ships about 1.6 million of those boxes every day.  But corrugated is so much more than a box. Some of the most inspired, humanitarian uses of corrugated include homeless shelters by Cardborigami and was featured at our SXSW booth or these visionary  housing designs by students.

Cardboard is a remarkable material that’s suited for today’s modern designs, and it got some overdue recognition during SXSW.