Brand collaborations: a PR masterclass

Brand collaborations: a PR masterclass

On July 4th Netflix launched the third installment of its original series Stranger Things. Within minutes of the streaming site uploading the newest episodes, an email landed in my inbox promoting the latest Stranger Things clothing collaborations with both Pull & Bear. A Google search shows the Spanish fashion house is not the only brand collaborating with the hit TV show. H&M, Levi’s, Nike and Burger King are all jumping on the bandwagon.

Success rate

Ahead of the airing of its eighth and final season earlier this year, HBO claimed Game of Thrones had partnered with more than 100 different brands across the globe. From custom Oreos to a Red Cross blood drive, a slew of brands partnered with HBO to drum up interest in the hit show and capitalise on its popularity. It is now the most-licensed program in network history.

Brand collaborations are not just reserved for popular TV shows. LEGO was famously on the brink of bankruptcy before it negotiated its first ever licensed series with the Star Wars film franchise. LEGO has since collaborated with Walt Disney, Warner Brothers and Marvel Comics.

A smart move

Successful brand collaboration depends on both brands being able to benefit from the existing market of the other, or from gaps in the market that can be filled, through a collaborative relationship that competitors find hard to replicate. While brands need to complement each other in a partnership, unusual collaborations can drive just as much PR and marketing interest.

This was the case for a campaign by Tinder and Ford. The car company added its own profile to the platform and asked users to “swipe right if you fancy a blind date in a Ford mustang”. Of Tinder’s 50 million active users, five million are said to have interacted with the promotion, leading to five being selected and filmed for a follow-up promotional video. Tinder gave Ford the opportunity for mass exposure with a millennial audience that would otherwise have been difficult to reach.

Be bold with your brand

On average, it takes six months to execute a collaboration campaign – between initiating a ‘big idea,’ to sourcing the right collaborator and executing a PR campaign. While this may put off some brands and marketers, the benefits of a successful collaboration far outweigh the time needed to pull it off properly. Whether it is for rejuvenation, reinvention or the opportunity to partner with an iconic name, brand collaborations can be a game changer for businesses today.

Annabelle Price

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