Brand collaborations are a great way for existing brands to reach a wider audience, tap into new markets, and generate excitement. When done right, a brand collaboration can be a huge success.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the best brand collaborations of all time. These collaborations were successful because they were creative, unexpected, and tapped into the cultural zeitgeist. Read on for our "best of" brand collaboration examples.
Crocs were initially polarizing, even inspiring the Idiocracy costume designer to use them as a symbol of the US's intellectual downfall. They aren’t something you’d typically expect to find in a best brand collaborations list.
But the once-mocked brand eventually became a fashion juggernaut. Crocs are comfortable and slip resistant. They’re also durable, affordable, and just plain fun.
You know what else is just plain fun? Ranch dressing. While some may consider the condiment souped-up mayo, aficionados know that Ranch is definitely able to stand on its own.
While it may not seem like shoes and salad dressing have a lot in common, it definitely makes sense that the most popular gardening shoes, and the most popular vegetable dip make one of the best brand collaborations of all time.
The final shoe was right in line with the Crocs brand: bold, daring, and a little wild. And the included Jibbitz (charms) were right in line with what Ranch die-hards love to enjoy with their dip: tiny pizzas, tomatoes, hamburgers, etc. It was something fans of both products could enjoy wearing and promoting.
Summer is the time most people break out their brightest colors. Yellows. Pinks. And definitely orange. So when fast fashion brand Forever 21 decided to do a brand collab with Cheetos, the summer season felt like the perfect launch.
Whether it’s original flavor or Flamin’ Hot, Cheetos are definitely a popular snack for the age range of Forever 21’s customer base. Plus, Chester Cheetah is an instantly recognizable mascot who’s managed to stay relevant over time.
Forever 21 is a multinational retailer catering towards younger and trendy customers. And according to studies, Cheetos are one of teenagers top five snack brands.
This brand collaboration resulted in perfect summer beach gear with swimsuits, towels, and crop tops that stood out. Engaging the fun of summer, the recognizable branding of Cheetos, and a smartly targeted price point turned out to be a winning combination.
If Red Bull really gives you wings, then you’re definitely going to want to record whatever happens next using your GoPro. While both of these brands have the type of X-treme marketing campaigns that made Mountain Dew famous, this brand collaboration example stands on its own.
Red Bull’s unique formulation began in Thailand as an energy drink that gave truckers an extra boost to keep their eyes on the road. It was eventually turned into an international brand and repositioned as a more elevated beverage choice for busy and sophisticated consumers.
GoPro also began as a humble endeavor. The initial concept was developed by a surfer who wanted to capture better quality films of his rides so he could “go pro.” The non-humble part was the 230K investment from his parents that allowed GoPro to develop the needed technology.
Both brands espoused the values of pushing yourself to the limit and achieving the highest levels of performance. So it made sense when they announced their 2016 brand collaboration, and that GoPro would be the official camera for the many sporting events Red Bull promoted and sponsored.
For this brand collaboration example, there’s the House of Gucci and there’s the House of the Mouse. So what happens when two of the world’s biggest brands on the planet decide to do a brand collaboration? Let’s just say it brings a new (and more stylish) meaning to the term “Disney Adult.”
The photography campaign to launch the brand collab was another unexpected entry in the best brand collaborations category as it was shot by auteur director Harmony Korine.
Of course, this brand collaboration didn’t just happen with a dash of pixie dust. It was initiated as a launch for Chinese New Year, which is celebrated by 1.5 billion people. So basically, the same amount of people waiting in line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
The quiet luxury of high end Disney items such as sweatshirts, bags, and phone cases was a huge hit. They even had their own window displays in the park. Take that, collectible popcorn bucket!
What’s worse - being trapped in the Upside Down, or stepping barefoot on a LEGO? For those into (literal) world-building, there’s one brand collab that rose above them all: LEGO x Stranger Things. This is definitely one of our most fun brand collaboration examples.
The buzzy Netflix megahit is no stranger to the cultural zeitgeist. Neither is LEGO, a toy that’s so popular, it has its own theme park. However, the LEGO team really outdid themselves with the Stranger Things: The Upside Down set.
The one model displayed two separate worlds. The first showcases the nostalgic Hawkins set pieces fans have come to love, including Hopper’s police truck and Will’s bedroom. It’s already easy to see why this is one of the best brand collaborations of all-time.
The entire set also could flip to reveal the eerie static that is the Upside Down. There’s even a working rig of the lights Joyce used in season one to communicate with Will.
While the set has unfortunately been retired, you can still find them on sites like Ebay for around $300. Which actually isn’t terrible, considering the original set retailed for $199.99.
Many of us rarely leave Target without spending more than we planned on, but it’s not exactly a luxury brand. So why was Bohemian chic clothing line Lilly Pulitzer one of their most successful clothing brand collabs?
Lilly Pulitzer is a women’s clothing line that launched in 1959 in Palm Beach, Florida. The brand was named after the designer herself. Fans included First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who was one of Lilly’s former classmates.
Typical of resort wear, Lilly Pulitzer is known for being bold, stylish, and fun. Which when you think about it, pretty much describes Target. Upon its 2015 brand collab launch, the demand was so great it crashed Target’s website. The most popular pieces of the collection sold out within minutes.
While Lilly Pulitzer remains a high-end brand, there was already some crossover interest with the typical Target shopper. Making quality clothing from an aspirational brand at a cost-effective price point is a challenge, but it's one this brand collaboration successfully mastered.
Back in the '90s, an awesome Friday night was a Blockbuster rental and Domino’s pizza. Things changed, and Blockbuster is long gone. While pizza may still be around, the modern consumer expects a little culinary variety. Like the below brand collaboration example.
Lifetime and KFC took all the above into account when they produced the short film A Recipe for Seduction starring Mario Lopez. As you can see from the trailer, the plot was definitely tongue in cheek.
Producing an homage to the classic Lifetime thriller wasn’t necessarily a new concept. It had been done before with Kristin Wiig and Will Ferrell in A Deadly Adoption. But in partnering with Lifetime, KFC added an incentive that stood out.
The chain also partnered with UberEats to offer a promotion of six free chicken tenders when you placed a $20 or more KFC delivery order during the film’s premiere week. So while videos and pizza are still great, thrillers and fried chicken definitely played as a punchy update.
Great brand collaborations aren’t always limited to things that seem to go together right off the bat. Sometimes brand collabs share an unexpected customer crossover appeal. These brand collaborations are successful by creating a limited and high-demand product.
For more ways to engage consumers and build your career as a creative director, check out Wrapbook’s article Staying Creatively and Commercially Successful with CollegeHumor.
And if you’re still trying to navigate said career path, click on our straightforward how-to guide on How to Become a Creative Director.
Scouting production locations? We’re breaking down 10 states with considerable film tax breaks so you can get the most bang for your budget buck.
Wrapbook's newest resource is our podcast, "On Production," which features experts in the field and tips on how to navigate the production world. Check it out!