Brand partnerships of all types can really help give your marketing a shot in the arm but some collaborations deliver so much more. When you get really creative a good collaboration can go viral on social media and deliver great press delivering millions of impressions.
Whilst not every brand partnership can get people base jumping from outer space we hope that by gathering examples of a wide range of different collaborations we can get those creative juices flowing for you to take your next collaboration to levels you never expected.
Base jumping from space is pretty hard to beat as far as brand partnerships go but if you've got a better one we'd absolutely love to hear it! Suggestions for this No.1 position are welcome any time!
Cross category partnerships are some of our favourites but it's rare to see two designers work directly on products as this. By collaborating with Dyson, along with the exposure in the design press that this generated, helped reinforce Issey Miyake as the brand with real design focus.
The partnership was very open to the press and use their communications releases as a way to reveal adialogue between the studios that welcomed experimentation.
The way they opened a traditionally closed design process to the press. By doing this they reaped the benefits of an ongoing conversation in the press and engagement with their followers. The publicity win wasn't just be releasing limited edition products at the end but they benefited every step along the way.
This collaboration started with 100 hand painted fridges which were sold for approximately 30,000 euros each. It was meant to be a one off limited partnership but a year later they teamed up again to launch the "Sicily is my love" collection of smaller appliances such as blenders, toasters, juicers etc.
A year after that they partnered again with Devina Cucina in the form of a free standing kitchen set and cooker hood, paired with a matching fridge.
The boldness and the testing. They didn't commit to a multi-year, multi-product partnership. They started with one limited edition run, reviewed the success of the partnership and then tried something new together. Only after multiple experimentations did they commit to an ongoing partnership.
Not a collaboration you'd expect and that's why it works so well. Classic Italian retro styling by Smeg combine with the Downtown New York lifestyle brands eye catching red logo.
The combination of classic Italian retro styling with youthful New York urban skateboarding culture
CAFÉ™ appliances announced that it will team up with the French cookware manufacturer, Le Creuset. The partnership kicked off with a monthly video content series between the two brands.
Well, for one, it's not another cobranding partnership. They got the benefits of basking in each others brand halos, reaching each others audiences and got to collaborate on content. All of those things are great for smaller brands or for those just starting out. Content creation can be hard (it is for me) and having a partner to split the costs and the work required can be worth gold.
“This collaboration with BMW epitomizes our shared values and creativity, technological innovation and style. This is a pure expression of the art of travel,” declared Patrick-Louis Vuitton, Head of Special Orders at Louis Vuitton.
From our perspective, back in 2014, this was a smart move. For BMW it was their first plug-in hybrid and they wanted to highlight their approach to technology with sophistication. For Louis Vuitton this collaboration helped associate them with technology and innovation...something that doesn't usually come through with their other partnerships.
For two brands that already get a lot of press coverage for product releases it's hard to imagine a scenario that got the brands fans more excited than this.
If you're wondering what's in this for Lamborghini we think they say it better than we ever could.
“Lamborghini recognises a spirit and dynamism in Supreme that resonates with its own brand,” says Katia Bassi, chief marketing and communication officer for Automobili Lamborghini. “This collection combines the essence of Lamborghini super sports design and performance with iconic street wear.”
Brand loyalty. This collection sold out...even during the height of the pandemic. Also, a lot of Supreme partnerships kind of look the same - this one really stands out with the lime green jacket and the big Automobili Lanboghini logo on the decks.
Harley-Davidson has long been Captain Americas bike. The design team started with a Street Glide Special bike and adorned it with Captain America motifs and icons but along the way they thought it looked too cool to just do one.
They extended the campaign through a range of custom designs for more than 25 Marvel Superheros.
We love that they got their dealers involved. When your primary sales channel is via retailers or resellers you can really leverage your brand partnerships by extending the co-marketing opportunities to your channel partners. You build more loyalty with your channel partners but also dramatically extend the reach of the campaign.
We also love the full extent of this campaign with content that extended to comics featuring the bikes, videos and a range experiential elements throughout.
These two traditional competitors are coming together for a year long project to build a new approach to sustainable footwear. Design, materials, manufacturing and delivery are all going to be re-designed to make the Futurecraft.Footpring performance running sneaker.
The video is worth a watch!
Honestly, what's not to love? You don't often see two competitors coming together for a collaboration.
When we first saw this we thought "what and odd collaboration" but a little digging has made it make a whole lot more sense. Going back to when Star Wars was first launched Fantasy and Science Fiction films were almost exclusively marketed to males.
Society has moved on since then and as the Star Wars franchise has grown along with its audience. The next generation of fans includes a lot of girls and woman so this collaboration makes perfect sense.
We love that at first glance it seems a bit edgy and out there but after consideration its actually perfect targeting for the two brands. Also, awesome SciFi imagery in their campaigns.
Make up your own rules they say on the MAC landing page for this campaign.
‘For this collection, we really wanted to throw out all the rules and really try something new and spectacular for this fantastic villain,’ says Drew Elliot, Global Creative Director at MAC.
High 70s glam with a hefty dose of attitude and a punk new wave twist.
The Daisy Daze campaign was exclusive to New York. An Uber car decorated with daisies was available to hail through parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. The campaign ran for six hours.
During the short campaign Marc Jacobs received more than 61 million media impressions and Uber 5,459 ride requests.
A lot of firsts in this campaign. In particular it was the first time a brand partner decorated the inside of an Uber which they did with bunches of artificial daisies. It clearly worked as intended - posts from influencers and editors got more than 278,000 likes.
innisfree partnered up with Mentos for their 14th birthday celebration. Innisfree have created six limited editions of their iconic powder, mint, peach, lemon, grape, cherry and melon.
Not only did they produce great content together, each tin of innisfree actually smells like the Mentos flavour it represents.
Etude House is known for creative and playful beauty products for decades so this collaboration with KitKat is right on brand. They launched with two sets of six "crispy and sweet" colors. The original palette was the first option which looks almost exactly like a KitKat bar you can buy in a store. Make sure you don't try and eat them by mistake!
They could totally be mistaken for a limited edition KitKat bar.
Two of the worlds most recognised brands coming together for a collaboration, why not?
It's a cheeky play from a serious fashion label that's sure to help introduce them to new audiences. It must be working for them - they've come together three times so far!
This follow up on the popular original Belenciaga x Crocs collaboration takes things one step further. Designer Demna Gvasalia is known for playing with proportions, construction techniques and reinterpreting common mass-market items.
"Balenciaga’s stiletto Crocs are dumb footwear but great marketing" shouts the headline in Quartz after they're announced. Love them or hate them - everyone has an opinion and most are on social media sharing theirs.
And as far as the press goes, it's not just the fashion press that's writing about them. They managed to snag a news segment on CNN amongst others.
Is this the best or the worst thing to come out of 2020?
“As Crocs continues to create new, unexpected brand collaborations, we’re thrilled with this ‘bucket list’ partnership with Kentucky Fried Chicken that will bring fans an unbelievably fun and fashionable take on our classic clog,” said Terence Reilly, Crocs SVP and CMO, in a press release.
For a very short collaboration they got a lot of mileage out of it. The Crocs sold out in less than 30 minutes but the conversation started at New York Fashion week months before they went on sale and its still going as we write this months later.
One of the benefits of a co-branding partnership is that it can help keep the brand fresh - and that was exactly what drove the ideation that came up with this collaboration.
Taco Bell was approaching their 50th birthday but their target customers were in their 20s. Greg Creed, Taco Bell's CEO, thought that turning 50 made them sound old. So he set the team of re-inventing the crunchy taco instead of a celebration or a cake.
Steve Gomez, Taco Bell's food innovation expert said “In all my years as a product developer, I’ve never seen a concept like this. The product didn’t even exist yet, and already people knew this idea was going to be huge.”
They had a specific problem they wanted to solve and they used a creative partnership to solve it. Also, during the testing phase they went to Home Depot bought a spray gun and sprayed Doritos flavouring onto their crunchy tacos. Who says old brands need a hackathon to come up with great ideas.
Read a deep dive on this partnership by clicking here.
Along with the melting Nike swoosh, everything about these shoes is inspired by the tranquil scenery found on a Ben & Jerry's ice cream tub. Like a lot of their more creative collabs these sold out in minutes.
Nike extended the hype around the shoes when a random selection of deliveries came in a large Ben & Jerry's tub surrounded by ice cream.
Made from eucalyptus trees, this unisex silhouette features the Shake Shack burger logo on a green and white color palette. It was only available for one day, from 8am to 10pm at one location. If you managed to buy a pair you also got a free three-pack lace kit and special edition Hokey Pokey shake for your efforts.
Leveraged the Shake Shack brand but only needed to co-ordinate one location. This does two things: 1) Leverages the power of exclusive limited editions and; 2) Keeps the logistics relatively simple. The ROI from this campaign must have been through the roof!
Launched all the way back in 2014 when Uber was just starting to gain traction and Spotify was already quite well established on computers and mobile devices.
For Spotify it helped solve the question of "how do we get into the car". Instead of car integrations they asked "‘what’s the next generation of transportation system?" Uber was an obvious fit.
For Uber it the first time they personalised the experience inside the car continuing to show technological leadership and further differentiation from the taxi cab industry.
This one is so good because it just makes so much sense. We can almost feel the excitement in the meeting room when someone said "hey, we should approach Uber and see if they would like to let their passengers play their own playlists during the ride".
Apple and Nike kicked off their first partnership in 2006 and over the years it has grown to one of the best partnerships in terms of delivering value to both brands.
They are individually strong enough to enter new markets themselves but clearly understand that by partnering with other market leaders they gain access to new audiences authentically and faster than they could do on their own.
Each incarnation of their partnership leverages the work already done from prior collaborations. No re-inventing the wheel here means a greater ROI with each iteration.
Google has a tradition of naming new versions of Android after sweets in alphabetical order. This was the first time a commercial operating system was given a licensed name though, and partially came about because they were Androids head of engiring, Hiroshi Lockheimer's, favorite candy bar.
There was no exchange of money involved, this was purely a promotional partnership. 50 million KitKat bars in 19 countries had prominent Android branding and buyers had the chance to win an Android tablet.
Adding to the excitement Nestle commemorated the partnership with 500 specially made bars in the shape of the Android logo which took weeks to make in a secret location in Europe.
A lot of GoPro's partnerships are serious business. Pro athletes, Pro sports, big serious brand partnerships. We're sure they're just as serious about this one but it really looks like a lot of fun. Checkout the video below if you don't believe us.
This opens up a completely new market for GoPro and for Mattel it allows their Hot Wheels fans to record all the action and the crashes in slow motion due to the high speed recording of the camera. It also lives streams so kids can follow along on with an app on a tablet or phone.
The best partnerships are often the most fun. This is one we want to try out at home.
At first glance this might seem like a mismatched pair. When you consider the long running STB campaign 'Passion Made Possible' and Barbie's 'You can be anything you want' campaign it starts to make a lot more sense. The partnership spanned three main areas: a collection of 60 Barbie dolls in customised outfits created by 18 local creatives and design brands, a social media competition and a co-branded video designed to empower you girls.
There are quite a few things to love. Firstly, it's quite a creative campaign that seems out of the box, but isn't. Secondly, we love purpose driven campaigns and what's not to love about empowering young girls. Also, we love cross category campaigns and these two categories are initially about as far apart as you can get.
The "Room de camp collaboration with Coleman" can be found at the Hilton Tokyo Odaiba. The room itself measures 80 sqm and the adjoining balcony with 180 degree views of the Rainbow bridge, Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Bay is 20m long.
The experience features an indoor camping setup that's full of greenery, a tent, camp chairs, led lanterns and a mock bonfire.
It's such a break from Coleman's traditional partnerships with music festivals, jamborees and other outdoor events. At writing the stats aren't in yet as the campaign is running through to the end of the year but we can imagine plenty of happy snaps being taken and spread across the social media world. Plenty of press already too.
Airbnb partnered with Ikea to allow Australians a chance to sleep in an Ikea. Three families, one night only. The guests were allowed to keep the bed linen they slept in as a parting gift.
I remember being back in Australia when this was collaboration launched. It never crossed my mind to sleep in an Ikea store, not once, but apparently I might have been in the minority.
The publicity around this was non-stop 24 hours a day for days on end. From breakfast tv, late night shows through to talk about radio. Everyone was talking about it. Airbnb really managed to drive home the point that they're the place for unique experiences.
Airbnb partnered with LEGO for their 'Night at' Competition. Fans had a chance to stay in a real life lego house! The house is based near the LEGO HQ and original Legoland theme park in Billund, Denmark. The whole construction is made of 25 million bricks!
The house also has Experience Zones, that allows the winner to direct their own LEGO movie, engineer robotic cars, design cities, and be thoroughly creative.
LEGO has such a strong brand following. This is a powerful way for Airbnb to bask in LEGO's halo and tap into the passion of the hardcore LEGO fans.
This partnership is all about going from Van to Glam. Kimpton Hotel Vintage Seattle has partnered with PacWesty to bookend van trips on the Olympic Peninsula.
It’s all designed to spark guests’ interest in the destination and provide a convenient travel-and-stay package to help them explore and relax in style.
We have a bunch of friends and colleagues that like to go hardcore mountaineering and then finish their adventures relaxing in a 5 star luxury hotel for a night or two. I didn't know it was a thing, but, apparently it is.
For a lot of Tesla's history they've been spending billions building electric car charging stations around the world. This partnership with Airbnb will install chargers at select rental locations within the Airbnb community.
There are eligibility criteria but those that meet the criteria will receive the $750 charger for free.
Tesla always need to deliver the message that their charging network is constantly expanding to places their customers want coverage. Airbnb is a disruptive brand leading the way with new technology so this is a great partnership. What's really cool though is that the eligible hosts get a free charger. Another move driving word of mouth for both brands.
When most people first encounter the Eva Air x Hello Kitty collaboration they think it's only about the aircraft. When you look further you find a full scale collaboration with dedicated landing pages, special in-flight amenities, travel products to purchase, special events and more.
While not everyone who reads this will have access to a jet it's a great example of how to go all in on a partnership. There's a lot to learn here and reasons why they keep extending this year after year.
Anyone that loves Hello Kitty knows about the plane. They've managed to turn this into a bucket list item for many fans. The plane also generates a lot of interest amongst yet-to-be fans as it moves around airports.
We thought it was worth mentioning that when you're onto a good thing, sometimes it's worth sticking with it. This partnership is in Japan but once again they've gone 'all in'. Look at those interiors!
Hello Kitty is using the lessons learned from the earlier airline partnership and leveraging them in key markets.
We don't want to dwell on these brand collaborations that the rest of us can only dream of but if we're going to show you an airline partnership we have to show you one that has X-wing fighters on it. This is the collab plane we want to fly on.
In summary - I've personally had a number of poor experiences traveling with United and had vowed never to fly them again. The power of this partnership is that my fandom of the Star Wars brand would have me hop on that particular plane the second I was given the opportunity.
We couldn't pick just one here and we couldn't talk about marketing partnerships without talking about airline frequent flyer programs. Airlines have some of the biggest, most complicated partnership marketing programs in the world. They are often so big they're run as completely separate businesses.
Although the first tracking of passengers can be tracked back to the 1950s, it wasn't until 1972 that the first modern frequent flyer program was created for United. It wasn't until 1979 that the first program using miles or points like we're familiar with now were created and it wasn't until 1981 when American Airlines released the AAdvantage that the partnerships side of things really started to take off.
Now the partnerships seem endless: hotels, car hire, banks, charge and credit card brands, retailers, spas, fitness clubs, restaurants etc.
Who doesn't like points! The win here is the all encompassing nature of these programs. Hard for most of us mere mortals to emulate but we have seen some great local programs that take a page out of this book.
The local gym + the local nutritionist + the local physio + the local sports store + ...you get the picture. Whatever you're doing there's a good chance you can build an integrated program that can be very powerful.
Never thought I'd see Pornhub on high fashion brands but hey, why not. Definitely won't fit with every set of brand values but if it fits with yours then it certainly is a way to get attention.
If you're stuck on the airplanes or bullet trains and thinking marketing partnerships are not for you - you're reading this the wrong way. What we set out to achieve by creating this list of brand partnerships examples is to highlight a few things:
We think the benefits of brand partnerships are pretty obvious but if you still need more convincing you can check out our 7 benefits of partnership marketing article.