Gold Motel rocks the CNN diner at South by Southwest on Wednesday (photo: Jason Gross)
From the outside, the slowly rotating neon sign looks like a scene out of "Happy Days" -- but looking closer, you see nothing less than a major news organization making over its image.
CNN is on several missions at SXSW. First off, they're covering the event in a partnership with Vimeo for a collaborative storytelling project , which includes five video creators and five iReporters, using the grill also as a workspace where an editor threads everything together into a visual diary of the festival. In addition, the network is also launching a TV Everywhere service to show their videos on any digital platform you like, where you can start watching on one device (i.e. phone, tablet) and watch the rest when you like on another device.
Burgers and beer help to get the word out, but CNN also knew that music gets attention at SXSW so they booked 20 bands (mostly indie groups) to play at their grill for three days, including Chicago power pop band Gold Motel who put on a lively late night set. Five more bands will be playing on Thursday.
"This is an opportunity to open our doors up and meet our customers," CNN PR director Jennifer Martin explained. "TV news organizations usually don't do that. Instead of a push mechanism, we wanted to be collaborative here and it's been a lot of fun."
CNN's Jennifer Martin at the CNN diner (photo: Jason Gross)