Skip to content

SXSW Brand Activations 2018 – CNN Great Big Story’s World of Wonder and The Market


CNN Great Big Story’s World of Wonder and The Market

At last year’s CNN party one of the main highlights of SXSW 2017 for me was having a conversation with Van Jones about his keynote speech earlier that day and Carl Berstein walking up to us to chat about the state of the world after we were still stunned by the presidential election.

Leading with the theme of #FactsFirst (no doubt in reponse to the liar-in-chief’s fake news accusations pointed directly at the news network) CNN has an overflowing plate of news-oriented SXSW experiences in store once again.


Great Big Story’s World of Wonder, located at 311 Colorado Street, will run Saturday March 10 and Sunday March 11 from 11am – 7pm. Curating the many stories from around the world captured by reporters during their journalistic adventures, CNN promises to transport guests through an immersive experience of tastes, sights and sounds, from a garden of deadly tulips to the neon-light of Japan’s Dekotora culture.

Pre-register at


Adjacent to the Big Story at The Market, CNN will transform the warehouse district watering hole into an apple orchard, complete with a two-story wall of red delicious fruit and side walk grocers peddling their wares.

Guests can partake in an apple Old Fashioned cocktail while on the glowing rooftop or pop down to the main floor to witness the live taping of CNN Original Series shows on March 10, including the Axe Files podcast taping with guest Jon Lovett plus breakfast starting the day at 9am-11am.

From 12pm-1:45pm lunch will be served along with the advanced screening of Season 3 “United Shades of America,” the CNN show by W. Kamau Bell that has conversations with Americans in cities across the country that no one else seems to be having these days. His book, “The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell,” is an expression of his experiences growing up, having challenging conversations with family members and friends, “That’s when I feel really like I’m growing as a person, in an awkward situation” he told PBS News Hour. Indeed, sitting across from a white supremacist and hearing their glee at having the white race in charge while also smiling and laughing is awkward for the viewer, but also riveting. Stating the common practice most of us have to run from or yell over awkward conversations, he chooses to “get quiet and listen more.”


Following, Dylan Byers’ PACIFIC launch panel will take place during happy hour from 2:30pm to 4pm, and from 5pm to 7pm. PACIFIC, the new CNNMoney newsletter focuses on the worlds of tech, media and innovation here on the west coast, from Seattle down to Hollywood, and all points in between. One recent story featured looked at the the ad spot by Twitter showcasing women’s strengths than ran during the Oscars, but from the perspective of women who have been trolled and verbally abused on the platform. His guests will include  Canadian-American cognitive psychologist and popular science author, Steven Pinker, futurist and best-selling author of “The Signals Are Talking,” Amy Webb, along with Jonathan Jenkins.

cnn amanpour-sex-love-around-the-world

Then there’s the not-to-be-missed world premiere of “Sex & Love Around the World” with Christiane Amanpour AND the Rooftop Reception. The new show led by the world-renowned journalist will travel down a different path of meeting with world leaders and reporting on war. This time she’ll venture into the personal lives of women she meets from around the world, “inquiring about their intimate lives. In the process, she shines a light on what sex and love look like around the world.” The show premiers on CCNgo, March 17. See the episode schedule and watch the trailer here.

The CNN SXSW kickoff party keeps the fruit theme rolling, this time bananas, which is quite the metaphor for the state of our nation, as CNN hosts Amanpour, Bell, Stelter, Tapper, and Zucker mix it up in #FactsFirst fashion.

CNN Official SXSW Sessions:

Friday, March 9 – Jake Tapper interviews Bernie Sanders, 12:30-1:30PM; CNN’s Brian Stelter speaks on the evolution of news, 5pm-6pm; and CNN’s Laurie Segall moderates panel on tech and health, 5pm-6pm.

Saturday, March 10 – W. Kamau Bell speaks with Kenya Barris of Black-Ish, 9:30-10:30AM; CNN’s Laurie Segall moderates panel on bias, 9:30-10:30AM; CNN’s Christiane Amanpour has a “Sex & Love Around the World” fireside chat with Recode Kara Swisher, 12:30-1:30PM

Monday, March 12 – CNN’s Dylan Byers interviews Apple’s Eddy Cue, 11am-12pm

Tuesday, March 13 – CNN’s Laurie Segall live podcast interview, 12:30-1:30PM

For the full programming details, go to


Sign up to our newsletter and get updates to your mailbox