Taco Bell will turn its fans into music video directors with its “Feed the Beat: SXSW 2013” project in another effort to leverage user-generated content in a marketing campaign.
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The Irvine, Calif.-based quick-service chain will partner with Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat!, two bands that Taco Bell has sponsored the past several years through its Feed the Beat program to promote emerging musicians, for a crowd-sourced documentary film to debut by this summer.
Taco Bell has asked its fans to share photos and videos of themselves enjoying live music using a “#FeedtheBeat” hash tag on Twitter and Vine, and the brand will gather the clips through March 11. That night, the two bands will give a concert at the Hype Hotel venue at the 2013 South by Southwest Music and Media Conference in Austin, Texas.
Taco Bell will work with music blog aggregator The Hype Machine, which sponsors the Hype Hotel venue for six days during SXSW, to live-stream the concerts on the restaurant’s Feed the Beat microsite. The customized live feed will include various camera angles of the show shot by people in the crowd that have tagged their content for Taco Bell’s promotion.
“SXSW is the intersection of film, music and interactive, and the perfect place to bring Feed the Beat to our fans as the program reaches new heights this year,” Brian Niccol, Taco Bell’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “‘Feed the Beat: SXSW 2013’ is the definition of ‘living más,’ as this first-of-its-kind film empowers consumers to connect with us and other fans over shared passions and favorite artists, socially. On top of that, we are putting amazing talent from our Feed the Beat program on a huge stage reaching all our fans, both at SXSW and across the nation.”
Taco Bell is an official sponsor of South by Southwest, which begins a day after Taco Bell’s March 7 nationwide launch of its newest flavor of Doritos Locos Tacos: Cool Ranch. The new product will be served to fans for free all week at the Hype Hotel venue while supplies last.
With this new promotion, Taco Bell joins other restaurant chains, including sibling brand Pizza Hut — also owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Yum! Brands Inc. — that have turned to user-generated or crowd-sourced content for major marketing initiatives. Dallas-based Pizza Hut recently called for fans to submit videos of themselves mimicking a quarterback’s pre-snap “hut, hut,” and spliced dozens of those clips into its Super Bowl Sunday commercial. The brand reported a single-day sales record for Feb. 3, the day the commercial debuted.
Music and social media have informed Taco Bell’s advertising in previous promotions as well. Last year’s commercial to promote the launch of Doritos Locos Tacos featured the Passion Pit song “Take a Walk,” which played over dozens of shots of the tacos taken from real users of photo-sharing platform Instagram.
Another Feed the Beat alumnus, Fun., has gone on to commercial success and is helping Taco Bell advertise its products in exchange for promoting the band before it broke big. Fun.’s song, “We Are Young,” for which it won a 2013 Grammy for Song of the Year, was re-recorded in Spanish and served as the soundtrack to Taco Bell’s Super Bowl commercial, called “Viva Young.”
Since forming Feed the Beat in 2005, Taco Bell has sponsored hundreds of musicians with $500 Taco Bell gift cards to use while touring, including notable acts like Andrew W.K., Gym Class Heroes and Girl Talk.
The brand and its franchisees operate nearly 6,000 restaurants in the United States.