I recently wrote a round-up of current Halloween-themed marketing campaigns, which included Topshop’s partnership with Netflix.
This got me thinking about the positive aspects of a co-branding campaign or collaboration, where both brands are able to benefit from a combined power in order to build awareness and reach a wider audience.
So, alongside Topshop, what others have we seen – and do they always succeed? Here’s a run-down of some of the best (and perhaps slightly misjudged) examples.
Ford and Tinder
Occasionally, brands come together purely for promotional purposes. This was the case for a recent campaign by Tinder and Ford, whereby the latter created a competition to appear on the popular dating app.
Ford added its own profile to the platform, asking users to “swipe right if you fancy a blind date in a Ford mustang”. 1.5m users are said to have interacted with the promotion, leading to just five being selected and subsequently filmed for a follow-up promotional video.
This campaign was all about reach. With 50m active users, Tinder gives brands like Ford the opportunity for mass exposure, particularly when it comes to engaging with a millennial audience.
CoverGirl and Lucas Film
What does make-up have to do with Star Wars? Not very much, however CoverGirl couldn’t resist the chance to attract the spending power of Star Wars fans, launching a range of make-up inspired by the film in 2015.
As you can see from the below image, it’s all a bit odd, with no real link between the movie and the brand other than the rather tenuous ‘light side’ or ‘dark side’ theme.
But apparently, CoverGirl was one of seven promotional partners chosen for their “creative excellence within their fields as well as their collective diverse global reach”. In this sense, it’s clearly more of a strategy by Star Wars to attract and engage a younger, female audience, with the benefits for CoverGirl perhaps being less obvious.
BMW and Louis Vuitton
Both BMW and Louis Vuitton are brands that share a focus on quality craftsmanship and sophisticated design. In 2014, they found a way to work together, with Louis Vuitton creating a collection of bags and suitcases perfectly designed to fit in the boot of a BMW i8. The bags were also made from the same carbon fibre material as the car’s passenger compartments.
This partnership effectively ramped up the exclusive nature of each brand, undoubtedly appealing to fans of both.
For Louis Vuitton in particular, which is well-known for its luggage, the opportunity to experiment with new technology enabled it to further its reputation in the travel category.
— BMW i (@BMWi) September 25, 2014
Spotify and Uber
Asking the driver to turn up (or down) the volume was once the only musical control we had during a taxi journey. This changed when Uber partnered with Spotify, allowing passengers to personalise their ride by syncing Spotify playlists with their Uber accounts.
While it’s the perfect fusion of both brands, this example shows that not all partnerships are a guaranteed win-win. Recently, it’s been reported that Spotify is concerned about its association with the increasingly controversial Uber, following on from yet more scandal hitting the company.
However, despite Spotify refusing to participate in a press campaign about an update to the Uber app, the partnership still continues – perhaps indicating Spotify’s hope that Uber’s reputation will turn around in the long-run.
Apple and Hermès
According to reports, sales of the Apple Watch have increased 50% since 2016. This success is perhaps one reason why Hermès was keen to extend its partnership with the tech giant, specifically to design a second range of straps for its wrist device.
The release of the new collection, which builds on the three original straps it created in 2015, was timed to coincide with that of the third Apple Watch.
Of course, another brand that deserves an honorary mention is Nike, as its own version of the Apple Watch was released in 2016.
However, Hermès is perhaps a more interesting example, as it demonstrates the power of a brand like Apple. Despite being a less-obvious or naturally aligned partnership (after all, there are already Apple strap options), the luxury fashion brand clearly couldn’t resist the potential clout that comes along with an Apple-association.
Unicef and Target
In 2015, Target partnered with Unicef to launch a new range of wearable fitness brands for children (along with an associated app), which challenged kids to reach fitness goals in order to help malnourished children.
According to reports, the daily fitness activity of people using the app has since led to 8.2 therapeutic food packets being sent, which in turn has saved the lives of 52,000 malnourished children.
Alongside the aforementioned benefits for Target, Unicef recognised that it would be able to use the initiative to help two ongoing issues. The first being that one in four children globally suffers from malnutrition – the second that one in four Americans are underactive.
By creating a wristband that would simultaneously tackle both problems, the brand partnership proved to have a positive impact on both the children buying it (and those receiving the related donation).
Levis and Google
Wearable technology is one of the biggest vehicles for brand partnerships, allowing the worlds of fashion and tech to perfectly align.
Another recent example is from Levis and Google, who have partnered to create an innovative ‘smart jacket’ for commuters. Essentially, it allows bike riders to control various functions on their phone, such as answering calls and adjusting volume, by touching sensors on the jacket’s cuff.
But is this technology as slick as it sounds? Apparently not quite, as the Levi’s website stats that the jacket can only be washed 10 times (with the snap tag removed from the cuff).
It’s not entirely clear what will happen on the 11th wash… but it sounds like the sensors will stop working. Considering the $350 price tag, this is likely to be a big negative for consumers.
Again, this shows that not all high-profile partnerships guarantee big sales. When it comes to technology products in particular, quality as well as the ability to solve a problem tends to be the real key to success.