SXSW interview sessions: TikTok’s Anny Havercroft with Mediaweek in Austin

‘These real-life experiences are important for bringing together advertisers, agencies and creator communities’

While SXSW is a Texas staple for many living in the US, there is always plenty of Australians that make the 24 (or more) hour pilgrimage to the Lone Star state. Throughout the conference, Mediaweek will be catching up with some of them to find out their key takeaways. First is TikTok’s head of business marketing AUNZ, Anny Havercroft.

Thoughts on SXSW so far? What’s been the highlights, what do you plan to see?

It’s been a smorgasbord of culture and innovation so far! Where do I start? The three highlights for me to date (in no particular order) are:

1. Listening to Greg Brockman (President of OpenAI, creator of ChatGPT) talk about how he’s making AI positive for humanity and setting up his company operations in a way that aligns with this mission.

2. Learning from the godfather of marketing effectiveness, Les Binet, who shared his recent research on how digital media’s contribution to long term brand building is under-stated (while deftly dancing through chaotic IT issues!).

3. Getting insight from US brands such as Tiff’s Treats and Dukkan Food on how they’re unlocking creative potential on TikTok to capture hearts and wallets of customers globally.

Interestingly, I also have a greater appreciation of why cleaning up space junk is important for brands and advertisers!


The TikTok #ForYou Festival is always a highlight of SXSW, how do you think it went last night and what value does it bring to the global brand?

Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy and that was exactly what we have been doing at TikTok HQ over the weekend. This week’s #ForYou Festival was a wonderful showcase of how the platform is entertainment that drives impact, bringing together creators to entertain and interactive creative tools to elevate the brand experience.

As a digital brand that has grown through the pandemic, these real-life experiences are important for bringing together advertisers, agencies and creator communities to exchange ideas and share learnings of how TikTok works for them.


You are hosting clients, how has that gone? What are they taking away from the experience?

We’re excited to share this experience with some of Australia’s established and emerging businesses who are soaking up knowledge and sharing learnings in an international forum. The tyranny of distance was highlighted during the pandemic, so we are all maximising the opportunity to connect, converse and contribute to broader industry discussions. I know what I have learned so far will make me a more rounded marketer and give me a nuanced perspective on issues we don’t talk so much about, and I am sure that is the same for our clients.

After going to SXSW Texas what have been your thoughts about the value that this can bring to brands in Sydney?

I’m looking forward to how Sydney brings the Aussie flavour to the SXSW brand. At its core, the brand is about showcasing creativity and innovation, sharing progressive ideas and bringing experiences to life whether it is music, film or brand. SXSW Sydney will present different opportunities for different brands. For some, it is a stage to contribute to the innovation agenda. For others, it presents an opportunity to engage customers and communities through branded experiences.

With economic headwinds challenging businesses and marketing teams to do more with less this year, I’m excited to see the considered and sustainable ways brands are going to show up later this year.

Bonus question: what’s the key to popular Austin game electric shuffleboard?

For the uninitiated (like me prior to this week), shuffleboard is like playing miniature bowls on a long tabletop.  So much to consider; how fast to slide the puck, the angle of the approach and when to knock your opponent off the table. The key is not to overthink it, apply less pressure than you think you need and hope for the best. A good strategy perhaps not just for shuffleboard but getting the most out of any conference experience!

See also: TikTok announces the launch of its second Agency Accelerator Program

TikTok Accelerator

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