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We’ve all seen that Pepsi commercial with Kendall Jenner and thought to ourselves, I can’t believe someone approved this… Well, that’s an example of a bad collab. But I’m here to share with you all some great ones. What makes a brand collaboration great is the element of surprise and the satisfaction it brings when the reason for it clicks in your head. Great collabs are powerful when they are unexpected but well thought out, and/or relatable yet memorable, and the ten I will be sharing in this article are just that.
The what and why of brand collabs
A brand collab refers to when two brands work together to create a niche product and/or service to target a group of consumers. Collaborations don’t necessarily always have to take place between two corporate entities. As a matter of fact, collabs can happen between two influencers or an influencer and a company. A brand collab is essentially a symbiotic relationship between brands that helps them both expand their audience by capitalizing off the exposure they get from combining their target markets and customers.
Brands utilize collabs because these collaborations help them reach people that might have never come across their brand before or who have but who didn’t feel enough of a connection to the brand to inquire further. In other words, brands understand that this strategic alliance is a way for them to stay relevant in a competitive market. Finding a good collab partner means they must be different enough that they have a novel customer base to offer, but they also have similar values, goals, and business objectives.
Overall, there are multiple benefits that can come from brand collabs, such as an increase in awareness for your brand among consumers, a bolstering of brand loyalty, and the fact that monetary expenses and labor are divided up between both brands. It’s safe to say that for the most part brand collabs are an excellent marketing strategy.
Ready to embark on your next collaboration? Read more about marketing strategies used by brands here.
Risks associated with brand collabs
Complication of financial resources
Profit-sharing might lead to one brand feeling as though it’s being taken advantage of. A lot of people rush into collabs without discussing the cost of negotiation they must reap when working together and whether or not that outweighs the benefits of partnering with one another.
When a brand partners together, it doesn’t just pertain to brands coming together, it also means employees on both sides must come together. If teams on both sides clash due to opposing views turning into petty arguments, this could translate into the outcome of the collab campaign.
Influence brand reputation in negative way
There’s a chance that a brand partners with a brand involved in a scandal before doing their research prior to agreeing to work together. This could also happen once a brand is already deep into a contract with another brand. By associating themselves with a controversial brand, it could influence the way consumers perceive the brand and ultimately hurt it.
Top 10 Brand Collabs
1. Euphoria x Bratz
Euphoria has become the talk of the town these days as people are scrambling to find out how the second season of the show will end. However, there’s another thing people can’t seem to get enough of and that’s the characters of the show, Cassie, Maddie, and Kat, and their amazing style and makeup. Bratz clearly understands this as they are trying to make a comeback after a two-year hiatus and need to appeal to the cool girls of today. What better way to do that than to make Bratz of the cool girls on TV that everyone is losing their minds over.
This collab is a great way for Bratz to resonate with their target audience, the modern-day girl, this time around, and tapping into Euphoria is the perfect way to do that.
2. McDonalds x Burger King
Who would’ve thought these two would have come together given that they have been rivals since forever ago, but here we are. In 2019, the two fast food giants came together to raise money for childhood cancer during which time Burger King launched a campaign called “A Day Without Whopper,” and stopped selling Whoppers to help McDonald’s sell their Big Macs, of which all proceeds would be donated to Children with Cancer.
Wonderful concept by @BurgerKingUK
In order to increase sales of @McDonaldsUK’s Big Mac, they have literally stopped selling their no.1 selling product (#Whopper) for one day, to support their competitor's fundraising targets for #ChildrenwithCancer. pic.twitter.com/FNLYA7JuGY
— . (@wr_ghty) September 25, 2019
Additionally, Burger King encouraged its customers to purchase a Big Mac instead. This collab was extremely intelligent given that both companies successfully promoted their brands, and Burger King managed to not only spread the idea that McDonald’s was second choice in a way but also create a benevolent image of itself because it put aside a best seller to help McDonald’s reach its goal.
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Burger King put their biggest seller aside for a day to support McDonalds', Children with Cancer initiative. Two competing rivals, coming together to fight something more important than their bottom line. #daywithoutwhopper #ChildrenWithCancerhttps://t.co/tRS2ii6PYh
— KAT Marketing (@KATKrew) October 3, 2019
3. FENDI x SKIMS
Just when we thought these two brands were doing more than fine on their own, they made the fantastic decision to join forces for this collab. The idea came about when Kim Jones, the creative director of womenswear for Italian luxury brand Fendi, was sitting at a table with his staff in the Fendi studio in Rome, and all of a sudden, the women stopped talking and started looking intently at their phones. When Jones asked what was going on, he was surprised to find out they couldn’t pay attention to him because they were waiting attentively for the launch of the new SKIMS collection. That’s when he knew he had to be a part of something so entrancing and so he reached out to none other than Kim Kardashian.
This collab is genius because it takes both brands’ ethos /codes and blends them together seamlessly to create a magical capsule collection of inclusive FF logo shapewear, lingerie, swimwear, lingerie, and accessories. It also doesn’t hurt that Kim who has a massive following on Instagram and who knows how powerful social media marketing is has taken to social media to promote the collaboration
Read more about the power of social media marketing is when it comes to optimizing content here.
4. Telar x White Castle
Telfar’s collaboration with White Castle is amazing for two reasons: the black-owned, genderless collab goes back to the designer’s roots whilst exploring the politics of labor and representation. Telfar Clemens has been going to White Castle since he was a little boy and his relationship with the business only got stronger after he decided to host the after party for his spring/summer 16 fashion show at the Times Square location in New York City.
Since that night, White Castle has sponsored every single one of the designers after parties and has become somewhat of a partner for the young artist, so when the chain asked if he would be willing to make new uniforms for the employees in honor of White Castle’s 95th anniversary, Clemens said yes. This collaboration makes sense because it pays homage to the legendary food chain in a way that elevates the uniforms but doesn’t take away from the fast food restaurant’s values of timelessness and originality. What Telfar and White Castle have managed to create is nothing short of masterful yet traditional.
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5. MAC x Alexa Demie More Than Meets The Eye eye makeup collection
In a video for American Vogue’s Beauty Secrets series on YouTube, Alexa Demie explains her relationship to the makeup brand MAC. More specifically, she explains how she grew up with a mother who was a makeup artist at MAC in Glendale, California, and thanks to her experiences going to work with her mom, the brand is very near and dear to her heart. This collab is fantastic because it not only capitalizes off the popularity of Demie’s character in Euphoria, Maddie, who has, by far, the coolest makeup on the show and has become one of the most influential makeup inspirations on social media; it also takes advantage of Demie’s nostalgic connection to the brand.
6. Alexander Wang x H&M
This brand collab is a perfect example of two brands that are different, in this case, thanks to price discrepancies, but who ultimately have the same goal, to create fashionable clothing that people want to wear. By coming together to create an exclusive collection for H&M, H&M benefits from its proximity to Alexander Wang which helps to position it as trendy and relevant and Alexander Wang is able to expose its high-end brand to more aspirational customers outside of their regular high-end customer base.
7. Doritos x Taco Bell
If you’ve never tried a Doritos Locos Taco, I’m so sorry for your loss. However, I’m here to explain how it came about and how it led to one of the best brand collabs out there, and maybe by the time I’m done, you’ll be convinced you need one. When the idea for the Doritos Locos Taco was first born, both Taco Bell and Frito Lay wanted to keep the Dorito flavor of the Taco Bell taco shell as close to the original as possible. They came to the conclusion that for that to happen, they would have to work together, as Taco Bell would need to enlist Frito Lay to create a Doritos shell for them.
As expected, people couldn’t get enough of them. As a matter of fact, Taco Bell sold 1 million units of it during the first year it came out. Both companies promoted the creative collab and in turn benefited from each other through the exposure of these promotions. This is a perfect example of an unexpected but overall great collab.
8. Lisa Frank x Pillsbury
Lisa Frank and Pillsbury are two brands that played a huge role in the majority of 90’s kids’ lives. This brand collab is the perfect dose of nostalgia. It works because Pillsbury has taken their famous sugar cookie dough recipe that people have been eating since they were kids and has spiced it up with another blast from the past, Lisa Frank’s fabulous unicorns, and bright colors. The great thing about this partnership is that it brings different generations together by appealing to their traditional consumer who keeps coming back for more sugar cookies but also inviting Gen Z and Millennials into the conversation by collaborating with a brand near and dear to their hearts.
9. Marc Jacobs x Uber
This is a very interesting collab due to the attention it garnered for the limited amount of time it was active. This campaign called The “Daisy Daze” campaign took place in New York City and ran for six hours during which an Uber car decorated with daisies was available to use throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. According to Marketing Dive, the Uber app received over 5,000 ride requests from Uber users during the six-hour promotion, the promo code was used 4,836 times in the app, and almost 200 trips were completed in the decorated car. This is an example of a creative collaboration that not only benefited Uber because it helped the company accumulate new members but also got Marc Jacobs tons of exposure.
10. Addison Rae x Alani Nutrition
Alani nutrition is known for its bright, bubbly, light pre workout/ energy drinks and so what better person to choose than the bright, bubbly, lighthearted, and super famous Addison Rae to collab with. Not only does this brand fit Addison’s fan demographic, it is also not the most well-known brand so for Addison to work with them makes this collab that much more meaningful and authentic.
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