Bacardi’s B-Live Goes Live

Bacardi have just launched their B-Live radio channel on both the web, but perhaps more interestingly for MobHappy readers, on the mobile. It’s a music-only channel, with no DJs, ads or interruptions and runs 24/7 with music that’s chosen to dance to.

A whole bunch of top DJ’s helped compile the mix of music and there’s some exclusive remixes too, from the likes of DJ Cosmo, Qool DJ Marv (playing as I write) and Unabombers.

As a branding exercise, this is really nice – perfectly themed to Bacardi’s brand values, without forcing them down your throat. It’s got all the hallmarks of Cake, their agency who have done some sterling work over the years in pushing what they call Brand Entertainment. Lynx’s arctic circle gig and Moto’s Gorillaz New York concert spring to mind.

As far as the mobile element is concerned, it’s free to download and listen and available on both 2.5 G and 3G networks. It works on Symbian and Windows Smartphones, which they claim is now 1 in 5 handsets. A Java version is also planned, which will obviously open up the station to a whole bunch more handsets.

Having said that it’s free, you still have to pay operator data charges which could be very substantial if you pay by blank cheque a variable data plan. But if you’re lucky enough to have an operator who’s really serious about driving data use and offers an all-you-can-eat plan, I’m sure you’d find yourself tuning in, especially if you like this music genre. Maybe applications like these will start persuading operators that fixed pricing is the only way to go.

The mobile experience is pretty easy. You download the application, fire it up and it connects to the network. There follows a brief buffering period and then it starts playing. I lost sound a few times as I don’t live in a great area for a mobile reception, but it reconnected, went through the buffering process and started playing again all with no intervention from me.

So, a nice piece of work from Bacardi. I think there’s lots of potential here to make the idea run and run. I also think we’ll see others jumping on this bandwagon in due course, but being first has the greater impact. As I’ve written before, there’s a strong argument that the marriage of mobile and radio is a much more natural one than the shotgun wedding of mobile and TV and Bacardi demostrate that very nicely.

On a final note, I like it when I see good PR in action, so well done to Cake for both a nice campaign and a well thought-through approach to get me to write about this. They just sent me a mobile phone with the app loaded and ready to go, plus some background information. However, no pressure or pestering to write about it. It certainly got my attention and made me have a play – something I perhaps wouldn’t have done if they’d just sent me a press release.

Did the phone make me feel obliged to write something and be nice? No, not at all. If I didn’t like the story, I wouldn’t have written it and if I didn’t like the execution, I’d have been honest about that too. Besides which, I’ve already got a mobile, so it’s not like I was going to be that grateful for another one.

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