Bacardi and Swizz Beatz Just Created a New Kind of DJ Experience on Instagram

It's musical simulation as branding

Bacardi today is employing Instagram Stories to let consumers play interactive DJ, representing a truly new kind of musical experience on the 4-month-old feature. Working with agency BBDO New York, sound design studio Tonefarmer and Facebook's Creative Shop, the liquor brand's global chief creative for culture, Swizz Beatz, has concocted a way for viewers to feel like their hands are doing scratches and loops.

It's a digital simulator that gives the Instagram user a full-screen point of view, making it seem like they are looking down at a two-record DJ set-up. Instructions on the first frame show the viewer how to tap a pair of buttons, manipulating sounds with their thumbs. People who follow Bacardi on the platform will see the brand's story at the top of the mobile page, but folks can also search the brand on Instagram and access the DJ experience that way.

"You start in a video, and then it's a series of short clips," explained James Quarles, vp and gm of monetization at Instagram. "By tapping the Bacardi logo on the left and the right, you can skip back and forth and make your own set."

The initiative is not a paid ad, and it will show up on followers' home page for 24 hours—like all Instagram Stories. Additionally, this Story will be published to Bacardi's feed for people to view after the initial 24 hours. And it will be pushed via Bacardi's' social channels that total 9.6 million fans and followers. 

"This is noteworthy because Bacardi is first to market with this kind of hack," Quarles said. "And we love how it brings to life the brand's commitment to music."

Bacardi has a long history of going big on music. The Bermuda-based company and Swizz Beatz recently collaborated on a three-day cultural experience at The Arches in London, in which art and music combined for the No Commission Art Fair.

Nielsen found that Instagrammers spend 30 percent more time listening to music weekly, and they spend two times more on music tickets and merchandise when compared to the rest of the population. 

"[Music's] always been embedded in our history and what we do," remarked Olivia Legere, Bacardi North America's director of creative excellence. "Through the years, we've been getting much more strategic in terms of the programming. That said, because this is such a big brand, that means we have a flexibility and we partner with a number of different artists. And we play at lots of festivals."

Check out Bacardi's video demo for the initiative:

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