The Food Effect: SXSW Activation

Objective: Land O’Lakes, Inc., a brand with services and products for each step in the farm to fork production system, wanted to be seen as more than a butter company, and challenge perceptions around big agriculture. SXSW was an ideal environment and audience to help achieve this goal, along with a National Geographic partnership that expanded their reach.

Our space in the heart of SXSW activity

Our space featured several interactive experiences as well as panel speakers each day. Our topics ranged from farming, food security, and the future of food. We wanted to start a conversation and instigate reactions from attendees by being honest and bringing forth diverse perspectives. Several experiences filled the main area of the space, allowing attendees to explore, snap pictures, converse, and learn something new about farming related topics.

Gene Editor DNA hacking game

The gene editor (above) let attendees see how GMOs can be used to solve real world problems through a pattern game. We told three different stories of how DNA hacking can help people, like growing crops in dry climates, making sure foods don’t go extinct, or adding vaccines to bananas to provide medical care in different ways. Our gamified DNA hacking was a fun way for attendees to approach a touchy subject and show a different side of the story.

Attendees could take a unique Instagram while viewing a video about different forms of farming
Attendees listened to personal stories about hunger and donated meals to Feeding America
A robot printed artful heat maps of farm fields each day to showcase the precision innovations farming has made

I was responsible for the user experience on all pieces and worked closely with the designers, art directors, and copy writers to bring to life experiences people would want to engage with. I facilitated design reviews and made sure we were objective in our conversations in order to build a successful experience.

To complement the space and content at SXSW, we also had a partnership with National Geographic where we created a 360 web experience that allowed users to explore four different environments related to food and farming in 360: a dairy farm, a vertical indoor farm, an algae farm, and a restaurant kitchen. Visit the site >

We had 8,137 attendees pass through our space in the 4 days we were open. Our average dwell time was 40 minutes and our survey showed that 83% of attendees now see Land O’Lakes, Inc. as a forward thinking company. Watch the video below for a full recap.


Role: UX Designer

Team: Art Direction & Design – Mark Anderson, Clarissa Hernandez, Taylor Snyder, Lydia Lee and Cole Spiess; Copy and content – Tricia Cornell, Lee Hanson and Danny Walsh; Creative Technologists – Tyler Burger, Tom Ferrara and Charlie Hield; Account Lead – Kayla Bries.