When audiences align, sparks fly. Build a win-win relationship with a partner, and it will extend your marketing reach and bring in new customers. Successful co-branding can create something that is so much more than the sum of its parts, and that is what we want to talk about in this edition of the bluEPrint series.
When Two Brands Have Chemistry: Shared Values and Partnerships
Whether it’s a short-term or long-term, casual or committed, branding collaborations can generate exciting opportunities for both organizations involved. Here are some examples of partnerships that sizzle.
Match Made in Media
- Red Bull gives you wings, GoPro gives you the view: Both these brands embody an action-packed lifestyle, and these shared values gives them a thrilling and fulfilling partnerships. Together, they sponsor global adventurers to capture great experiences, like draining a water park for an epic skateboard session.
- Finger-lickin’ good stories: KFC and DC comics released a graphic novel on Colonel Sanders battling his evil self, surprising hungry New York Comic-Con attendees. The shockingly good satirical comic pokes fun of Colonel Sanders and the 1961 “The Flash of Two Worlds” right in time for KFC’s 75th anniversary.
- Don Draper approves Heinz ad: In 2017, fiction merged with reality when a classic ad from Mad Men took its place as an official ad for Heinz. What could be a classier take for a classic condiment? The simple print series gives the viewer a close-up view on typical ketchup foods with the words, “Pass the Heinz” above.
In Support of a Good Cause
- Canada Goose with Inuit Style: Canada Goose’s Project Atigi (the Inuktitut word for parka) partners with designers from nine communities in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. They’ve created unique designs that will sell for $5000-$7500 with proceeds going towards Inuit Tapiriit , an organization that advocates for the rights of 60,000 Inuit in Canada.
- Wattpad against texting and driving: AT&T partnered with Wattpad to commission a top influencer to write serialized fiction including texting and driving. The series, Weeping Willow, received over 6 million impressions with ads placed strategically throughout the campaign. 97% readers reporting being more cautious when driving.
Tech Companies Refresh Traditional Giants
Remember when Burger King hijacked Google Home devices to recite the ingredients of the Whopper? Brands are clamoring to share the limelight with technological platforms, but they’re much better when both parties agree to it. Here are some examples of more productive partnerships that tie in seamlessly with both brands involved.
- Run, Spotify, run!: Everyone’s favorite music streamer offers integration with Nike+ Run Club. They even offer Pace Stations to match the runner’s speed. To navigate your journey, Spotify also teamed up with Google Maps so users can seamlessly switch songs without getting lost.
- Disney stories find a new magic with Google Home: Parents can read stories to their kids with sound effects using Google Home and the Disney App. The technology takes in account skipping ahead or going back to favorite parts in the story.
- Ford and Lyft building self-driving cars: They’re not building prototypes just for the sake of it, this partnership intends to put thousands of self-driving vehicles in use. Together, they are designing software to allow Ford vehicles to communicate with Lyft’s smartphone apps.
- Fresh spoils for the hungry: HelloFresh, the grocery delivery service partners with Spoiler Alert which manages unsold inventory. Together, they have decreased organic waste by 65% and donated over a million meals to local communities. We describe other sustainable food partnerships like Loop’s durable packaging program in our Foresights on the Food Frontier white paper.
- A night in with Foodora and 7-Eleven: If you’re having a sick day, you can order take-out and Tylenol through Foodora. This food delivery app is partnering with 7-Eleven to deliver convenience store essentials, including snack food, sanitary products and condoms.
- Waze to a morning donut: Not only can Waze update you on traffic, their order ahead feature can also get you the best route to Dunkin’ Donuts. This is the first partnership for this feature, and lets users pinpoint the closest DD before they start their drive.
Fails and Wins: Unlikely Matches
With all these wonderful stories, we still want to be realistic about business relationships. Maybe you have an alluring partnership in mind, but you’re not sure if they have the potential to hurt you. Once upon a time, Costco stopped serving Coke and left them for Pepsi. Even the Beetles broke up. Here are some stories on why you might want to sign a prenup before getting involved.
Ones that didn’t work out
- Vogue and Vice break up before they begin: The joint editorial Vogue and Vice planned to start remains unborn. After the New York Times published its investigation on Vice’s sexual harassment allegations, sponsors of the partnership pulled out leaving the venture on an indefinite pause.
- Pepsi and Kendall Jenner Fizz out: To reach out to activist movements, Pepsi made a faux-pas ad campaign positioning Pepsi as the solution to complex societal problems. After a tidal wave of criticism, they pulled down their ad.
Ones that did
- Chevrolet embraces critics with Lego Batman: Chevrolet’s incredibly staged “Real People, Not Actors” campaign was torn apart by internet mockery. In order to bounce back, they partnered with Warner-Brothers and made fun of themselves with a Lego version of their original campaign flop.
- Enemies become friends (ride sharing + public transit): Uber is partnering with transit systems to build flexibility into the customer’s commute. Meanwhile, Lyft is partnering with health providers to help patients get to their appointments for non-emergency medical situations.
What do you think about these topics? If you have ideas on what you’d like to see or a case study you’d like to share, let us know!