You may have heard a few reports that Mophie, the company that makes chargers that have brought many a smart phone back to battery life, will be coming to South by Southwest. With dogs. Who’ll charge your phone.
The “#MophieRescue” promotion is clever in the way that many SXSW Interactive street marketing campaigns are. Who among us with a dying iPhone in our hands wouldn’t want an adorable rescue dog to come to our aid with a phone charger at the ready, free of charge? It’s so brilliant and simple, it’s almost dumb.
And that’s there the problems may lie. If it reminds you of the well-meaning, but ultimately misguided “Homeless Hotspots” promotion from SXSW 2012 that became a national story, I’m right there with you. When you convert living, feeling creatures into tech accessories for the wired crowd, you’re playing with weird energy and it could backfire.
The promotion is a partnership with the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation, which says it hopes that some of these dogs will be adopted.
I have a few questions:Does the effort to get these dogs adopted and promote the concept of rescuing dogs worth having them run around the streets of downtown Austin amid huge crowds of people?Is it ever a good idea to have a St. Bernard dog in Texas? The temperatures for the fest will be a human-comfy 75. Is that too warm to have a dog out in the sun all day?Does the rescue foundation really want someone adopting these dogs who lives in a city where it gets up to 110 degrees in the summer?Are these dogs Android compatible or just iOS?Are these the kind of St. Bernards who carry liquor in their little barrels? If so, can I have some?Is SXSW being overtaken by animals? Between Grumpy Cat (who is returning for a third year), Tuna Melts My Heart, multiple pet meetups and these mobile charger dogs, isn’t it time to create a new festival entirely for animals? Why not South by South Pets?I’m no animal rights advocate (just ask my cat, who thinks I watch too much TV). But is a festival with tons of people, drinking, traffic and noise the best place to bring your cats and dogs? For, essentially, marketing products and making money? Are these animals being exploited? Let’s be thankful, at least, that nobody’s bringing elephants to the festival (that I know of).
Am I being too much of a spoilsport here? Let me know in the comments.