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72 Back from the future!


This month, Karen Fewell reflects on what she learnt on her recent visit to the annual South By Southwest event held in Austin, Texas


LAST MONTH I HAD MY ANNUAL TRIP to Texas to join 30,000 other ‘digital geeks’ at South By Southwest (SXSW). I love my yearly trip to Austin, to witness the latest in cutting-edge technology, digital marketing case studies, debates on the future and inspiring talks that just make you think. I find it fascinating to see how brands are marketing to digital influencers. I reckon it wouldn’t take a huge amount of effort to live off of free food and drink the entire week in Austin. You go from one meet-up to a BBQ, to a party, back to the BBQ, and on to another party!


If you have seen me since my trip to


Texas, you will have heard me talk about the five presentations that inspired me the most. I am likely to share some


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more stories from the sessions in articles throughout the year, but this month I want to tell you about a food truck, waiting an hour for a 3D printed Oreo, and whether you can love a brand more than you can your loved one. There are marketing lessons to be learnt from all three.


“You go from one meet-up to a BBQ, to a party, back to the BBQ, and on to another party!”


IBM cognitive cooking food truck I have to say I was surprised to come across a food truck that was powered by tweets and a cognitive computer. It was an IBM Watson project that uses ingredient data and human food desires to create previously unimagined recipes. Each day a vote on Twitter determined the type of food to be cooked, for example a kebab or fish and chips. The system asks for an ingredient, a region and the chosen dish. Using this information it creates ‘recipes’ (which for now are just lists of ingredients). How does it do this? The system has analysed around 35,000 existing recipes and 1,000 chemical flavour compounds. Using this information the system can


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