Phone chargers are as ubiquitous at SXSW as lanyards, tacos, and some guy standing outside of a downtown Austin dive bar trying to convince somebody holding a clipboard that he’s absolutely supposed to be on the list. If you’re going to be out and tweeting all day as you scarf down BBQ and meet “thought-leaders” and “influencers,” you’re going to burn through some juice in the process. But not everywhere you’re going to be is next to an available wall outlet, so powering up is a constant challenge.
Mophie’s raison d’être is to solve that challenge, and the company–which makes external batteries and battery-backup cases for various smartphone models–has a creative way to rescue SXSWers who find themselves on the receiving end of a dying battery: rescue dogs. Like in the Alps. But way nerdier.
In a cuddly, if complicated, solution to a real dilemma, people whose batteries are dying at SXSW can tweet to the @Mophie account with a screenshot of their battery level and their current location, and the company will deploy St. Bernards to rush out (with a human handler, to avoid any potential incidents related to Austin’s famously gridlocked traffic) and provide them with a Mophie charger of their own. Attendees who want to use their dwindling battery life to see if there’s a dog on the way in real-time can use the app Glympse to get GPS info about the pups, too.
As SXSW gimmicks go, it’s at least somewhat less problematic than making homeless people into Wi-Fi hotspots. Additionally, Mophie’s partnered with the St. Bernard Rescue Foundation to get attendees addicted to the dogs, so they adopt them from their local rescue organization after the festival. “We’re thrilled to partner with Mophie to help raise awareness and hopefully find safe and loving homes for these dogs,” Olive Ashwell, the foundation’s marketing manager, said in a press release from the company. “There’s a shared sense of passion between both our organizations as this amazing partnership launches at SXSW.” In other words, if this stunt works, get ready for a run on some big, slobbery dogs just in time for summer.