Inside Instagram’s Secret Barter Economy

Influencers swap photos for helicopter rides and champagne

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Instagram is quietly becoming a platform for an underground barter economy where posts are swapped for goods and services from high-end brands hoping to attract millennials and cashed-up consumers.

Mercedes-Benz, Maserati and Dom Pérignon are just three of the luxury brands to strike deals with influential Instagrammers because of the visual marketing clout of the photo posting site, reports The New York Times.

Mercedes USA, for example, wanted to push its budget CLA model to young consumers, so the automaker turned to 28-year-old Nikoletta Csanyi, who won the $29,000 car in a contest.

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