Exclusive: Taco Bell Teams With Passion Pit, Twitter For SXSW Showcase, 'Rockumentary'

Taco Bell is teaming up with Twitter and filmmaker Sam Jones (Wilco’s “I Am Trying To Break Your Heart”) for a first-of-its-kind “Rockumentary,” “Feed The Beat: SXSW 2013,” at South By Southwest on March 11.

The project will feature performances by Passion Pit and Wildcat! Wildcat! and will be filmed by fans via handheld cameras during a concert at Hype Machine’s Hype Hotel. Taco Bell will also live-stream the show via multiple camera angles at FeedTheBeat.com, and Twitter will host content using videos uploaded onto its Vine platform as well as tweets using the #FeedTheBeat hashtag. The finished film will debut later this summer on FeedThe Beat.com.

The rockumentary will showcase the dual narrative of a breakout band (Passion Pit) and a band on the rise (Wildcat! Wildcat!) as part of Taco Bell’s Feed the Beat programs, which has supported musicians since 2005 through efforts like $500 in free food on the road and, more recently, in TV ad campaigns. In 2012 alone, Taco Bell aired 18 commercials featuring Feed the Beat bands including Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr., Little Hurricanes, the Gay Blades and others. When Passion Pit’s “Take A Walk” was featured during a synch that aired before MTV’s Video Music Awards, the song sold enough downloads to chart on the Billboard Hot 100, where it remained until the Hot 100’s Feb. 16 tally.

“One of the stars on top of the tree you can hang is when you have an artist whose song is just breaking or an album just about to debut and you can plug them in to make the TV experience more powerful,” says Will Bortz, director of brand partnerships at Taco Bell.

The brand just launched a similar campaign around Mom & Pop Records’ Fidlar’s album debut last month. “People don’t know we’ve been working with Passion Pit since they were truly in that up and coming space, and to juxtapose where they are now to where Wildcat! Wildcat! is now in the discovery phase was an important part of this rockumentary.”

Taco Bell’s sponsorship of the Hype Hotel has also proven to be a powerful launching pad for artists during SXSW. During last year’s showcase, rising EDM talent Madeon was scouted by Columbia’s Rob Stringer for a deal that quickly had him signed to the label. Among the confirmed acts for this year’s lineup, booked by music agency the Syndicate, include Disclosure, Jim James, Foxygen, Fort Lean, Charli XCX, Chvrches, Solange, Rudimental, Blue Hawaii and Haerts. A full lineup of confirmed performers is available here.

Twitter Music head Tatiana Simonian added, “The Feed the Beat program and the upcoming rockumentary is a dynamic example of how Twitter has brought the world of music closer. Interactions between artists and fans are no longer just an offline interaction, but one continuous conversation and shared experience. This new rockumentary kicking off at SXSW gives the world a front row view of artists’ stories from a unique and personal perspective.”