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X-ACTO: Being cutting-edge at SxSW


For nearly a century, the name X-ACTO® has been synonymous with precision cutting, innovative cutting blades, knives and office supply products. X-ACTO® empowers the creative mind by giving them the tools that makes their vision come alive.

For over a decade, X-ACTO® has worked with SBC Advertising, our agency creating campaigns as unique and dynamic as the X-ACTO® brand. So when X-ACTO® contacted with a need to reach the core of their consumer, but do so with a very small budget and a tight deadline. We said, "No problem." 

Attracting the Artistic Heart of X-ACTO's Core Consumer

Case Study Video

They were like moths drawn to a flame. At SxSW, every minute at the festival has an endless supply of activities that has the attention of attendees going in every possible direction. So instead of drowning in a sea of other exhibits, SBC Advertising decided to rewrite the playbook. Who wouldn't want a painting done by a premier, literally cutting-edge artist Ray Ferrar? And all of this was accomplished with the high costs associated with being an official event sponsor or an exhibitor. 


How do you reach a dynamic group of Millennial consumers, with a small budget? For Millennials, it’s all about relevancy. So SBC Advertising set out to find a large Millennial audience that the brand would resonate with. SBC Advertising needed to build brand awareness and reinforce X-ACTO as the trusted maker of the most precise, durable hobby/ artistic knives, and engage retailers through X-ACTO’s unique marketing initiatives and brand support.

X-ACTO desired to make a big splash with a new product release in 2014. 
We took the product to one of the most socially engaged and connected audiences during SxSW.

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What we did

Our strategy focused on having a presence at a live, experiential event that had a strong artist following. We also developed social promotions to make the program scalable.

SBC Advertising gave attendees the opportunity to participate in a set of high-profile, experiential events that were on-brand and presented the opportunity to connect the brand with trade partners. 

By providing this once in a lifetime experience, SBC Advertising knew there would be plenty of compelling content from the event that X-ACTO could leverage across creative, marketing, digital and social.

So SBC Advertising and X-ACTO created the Precision Pavilion, a pop-up gallery space and workshop for acclaimed stencil artist Ray Ferrer. Visitors could select from a range of iconic images Ray had cut with X-ACTO knives, then watch as he custom-painted an original canvas just for them — all at no cost. Millennials thought the experience was pretty cool. 

The Fantastic Results

X-ACTO secured a huge presence at a high-profile event without a large financial investment and attendees were enthralled with the live knife art demonstrations during SxSW at the X-ACTO Precision Pavillon. 

868,506 people reached

(In only 2 days)

150 works of art were created

(And given away for free)

13 TV segments aired 

(Including interviews with Ray Ferrer and X-ACTO brand leaders.)