EXCLUSIVE: The South By Southwest Festival continues to grow in popularity and influence, and the Hollywood marketing machine has taken notice. With last year’s fest drawing an estimated 64,000 plugged-in registrants, entertainment companies again are salivating at the opportunity to mine the Austin crowd and active social media accounts. Enter Funny or Die. The humor brand is planning a March 8-10 assault that includes tie-ins with Universal Pictures and Facebook, live podcasts, panels, an event with its Fuse show Billy On The Street and culminating with a stand-up show by a comedy legend making his fest debut. The revelry kicks off with a Saturday night Delta Psi frat party, a wink at the boisterous Greeks featured in Neighbors, the Seth Rogen-Zac Efron-Rose Byrne comedy that Uni will bow May 9. There’s Neighbors-related fraternity shenanigans the next day with a Delta Psi open house. Funny or Die’s three-day party will wind down — or whip up, depending on your point of view — with a Bill Cosby concert Monday night. That is if the whippersnappers can look up from their phones long enough to appreciate an American treasure who made their parents and grandparents double over. FOD also is partnering with Facebook, which will have teams from the social network and Instrgram at the festival to help media groups and public figures connect with fans. The annual music, film and interactive fest runs March 7-16 at various venues across the Texas capital.
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