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  1. 1. Brand Collaborations / This article appeared in Contagous issue Eighteen. Contagous is an intelligence resource for the global marketing communiy focusing on non-tradiional media and emergng technologes For more information please contac Harry Gayner on +44 (0) 20 7575 1822 or
  2. 2. expert opinion / brand collaborations / Brand Collaborations / The days of temporary, tacical pairings are over. Today’s alliances are mutually beneficial, and built to las / By Tom Morton / Recent examples of proper synergy, where two brands’ strengths years have seen a remarkable courtship multiply. Pairing a chic brand with a mass brand, such ritual in marketing. Brands and media that had kept as Matthew Williamson’s range of Sky Plus PVRs, might their distance in fear of competition or blurring their self- create temporary buzz, but it’s the marketing equivalent image have started to pal up with each other. of a trophy marriage. As utility becomes a stronger Fashion and luxury brands led the charge. Theo Fennell concept in marketing, a true collaboration should lead crafted silver lids for Marmite; Karl Lagerfeld created to the creation of a new form, something that would not dresses for H&M; now Diesel is designing a version of exist without the two brands. Lego’s collaboration with the Fiat 500. Star Wars created a range that was far more playful Partnerships put brands into new people’s hands. In and had more character than a typical collectable figure, luxury travel, Virgin Atlantic, Scott Dunn and Descent and generated over a billion dollars of sales for the two struck exclusive deals with marques to supply guests brand owners. The rationale for any partnership is to with chauffeured cars. On a less grand level, everyone create something you could not achieve alone. Brand could enjoy Walkers’ Heinz Ketchup flavour crisps. In collaborations are no different. media, Publicis Groupe opened a joint venture with The biggest factor driving brand collaborations is Google, an organisation that Sir Martin Sorrell described technology, as splicing software together is often easier as a ‘frenemy’. than changing the run on a production line. And we are Suddenly Hunter S. Thompson’s description of seeing more tech brands using collaborations as a route something looking ‘as out of place as a pair of cashmere to market. Google boasts a series of collaborations, Levi’s’ sounded like a decent marketing idea. lending its Maps and Earth technologies to enhance An early issue of Contagious called these matings other brands. Yahoo! has been revitalised as the brand alliances. It’s apt to choose a word from diplomacy iPhone’s default browser. Premier Inns built details of its rather than marketing, because the weak versions of hotels in to TomTom satnavs. Expect many tech brands these pairings can owe more to the calculation and to distribute themselves through other brands. image management of diplomats than to the imagination If collaboration is such a commercial opportunity, brand of brand builders. Alliances can be tentative toes-in- management needs to open up to it. The old ‘target the-water, where brands pull back as fast as they go audiences’ are better understood as real audiences. in. They can be dynastic marriages, where a big ugly They might be interesting for another brand. Their other partner searches for a mate to bring some looks and life interests might be a source of inspiration for a new to the family. They can be trade deals, where bagging business. Likewise, the notion that a single brand has exclusive rights is a bigger consideration than giving one key message is limiting, when a successful marque value to the public. connects with people through a cluster of activities. The significant and lasting pairings are more than Here, its actual strengths and assets become more alliances. They are brand collaborations. If alliance is useful than a dry list of values and personality attributes. a diplomatic term, collaboration is a creative term: two Conversely, brands will need a new modesty about what parties working together to make something new. The they can and can’t achieve on their own. Brand owners real opportunities lie here. can stop protecting the white space around their brands Collaboration brings two brands’ strengths together. and start looking for what they can achieve when they Partnerships such as My Coke Music and Nike+ are blur it. almost as familiar as individual brands. These are
  3. 3. contagious 66 / 67 TiVo + Domino’s Pizza PlayStation + Nissan Digital recorder TiVo collaborated with Domino’s Gran Turismo is one of PlayStation’s biggest to present an interactive ordering system, where franchises. The game enables players to drive Domino’s pizzas can be ordered, selected to be real cars on real racetracks around the world. Its delivered or collected, and then tracked all through a high-definition outing on PlayStation 3 is the most remote control / realistic driving simulator available. Nissan’s new GT-R supercar promises Porsche-challenging Choosing a Build-Your-Own-Pizza option, TV viewers performance / can choose the crust type, plus select type and number of toppings all from the comfort of their sofa. My agency TBWALondon and our sister company The remote control becomes a journeying device Stream saw an opportunity to promote both brands by between the two services. For example; advertising bringing real and virtual racing together. points provide access straight from the advertisement We created the GT Academy, a programme to recruit into the digital ordering. The user need only click ‘I want real racing drivers from the ranks of Gran Turismo fans. it’ displayed on the ad with their remote control to be Players from across Europe registered through Gran redirected to the order. Subscribers of TiVo can even Turismo Prologue’s online game on PlayStation 3. The create a user ID to order their pizzas even more speedily fastest gamers competed in national Gran Turismo by visiting the Domino’s website and setting up a user championships for a place at a rallying academy at name and password, which will then provide them with Formula One’s Silverstone racetrack. The academy an account number. Thus the website and interface then selected two drivers who underwent professional work together to direct the consumer between the two training to take part in the Dubai 24 Hour endurance brands. race in January 2009. 450,000 people followed the GT The service function, which was launched in November Academy online, while 25,000 gamers entered the initial 2008, is free of charge to all broadband connected TiVo competition. Sales of Gran Turismo peaked during the subscribers. Crispin Porter, the agency responsible, competition period: Nissan’s GT-R built a waiting list of claims that this led to an additional $100m in online over a year. revenue. The journey from gamer to rally driver will be the subject Heightening experiences is a natural area for brand of a five-part TV series later this year, syndicated around collaborations. When entertainment brands combine Europe to channels including RAI Sports in Italy and with food and drink brands they create a new area of Dave in the UK. ‘couch commerce’.
  4. 4. expert opinion / brand collaborations / AC/DC + Rock Band CNN + Facebook Brand collaborations offer particular appeal to President Obama’s inauguration gave CNN and properties that need new routes to market. Recording Facebook the opportunity to pool resources – CNN’s artists will benefit especially from collaborations live coverage and Facebook’s social network – to that help them bypass conventional album releases. create an online social event for the occasion / Wired magazine reported that Aerosmith earned Facebook users were able to talk to each other online more from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith than any single through the application, while from the same forum album in the band’s history. Another fine example is watch a live streaming of the event. This created a live, AC/DC who presented an exclusive album through dynamic social space where people could, virtually, the popular Rock Band computer game / watch and talk about the inauguration together. The album, which contains the songs from AC/DC’s During the event, Facebook reported that 600,000 users famous 1991 Monsters Of Rock gig at Castle updated their status during Obama’s speech through the Donnington, was remixed specifically for the game, live Facebook feed. This had a competitive offering game players over 99 minutes of play for each edge over other networking sites in that, through the instrument. As you might imagine, the collaboration CNN application, viewers could communicate at the is something of an endurance test. The difficulty of same time as watching, providing a sense of immediacy the game then reinforces the band’s status as skilled – being involved directly in the moment as it happened. musicians and true rock performers. AC/DC gained a Both brands benefited from their joint creation. Facebook wider, younger audience, many of whom were not born became a channel for important shared experiences, when the band was in its heyday. Rock Band gained while CNN reached a younger audience than its usual credibility and publicity as a game, as well as 99 minutes 35+ demographic. of hard rock assault course gameplay. MTV’s Paul DeGooyer captured the appeal: ‘An unforgettable concert is now an ultimate at-home entertainment experience.’ LoveFilm + Guinness and the wider in-home film community, The most basic brand collaborations Guinness has positioned itself beyond its give brands access to new markets natural heritage at the bar and in to the and audiences. Guinness and LoveFilm growing home drinking market. The offer, joined together to offer customers a which ran in November 2008, was part of free Guinness Choice DVD box set of a larger campaign in which Diageo sought film collections such as the Tarantino to place Guinness at the heart of home set, The Godfather Collection, Monty entertainment. The bigger opportunity would Python and Robert De Niro and Al be for Guinness to create an ongoing Pacino movies, when signing up for a DVD rental property in order to cement its month’s subscription to LoveFilm / position in home entertainment and give The promotion, found on multipacks LoveFilm access to a new audience. of Guinness, introduced the idea of ‘Guinness Time’. By linking with LoveFilm
  5. 5. contagious 68 / 69 adidas + Stella McCartney Doritos + Xbox adidas has a long heritage of making shoes and Technology can add engagement and audiences to clothes for specific sports. Athletes as diverse as almost any brand. Doritos and Xbox launched the Jesse Owens, Muhammad Ali and David Beckham challenge for fans to submit designs for an Xbox have competed in adidas gear. While the wider Live arcade game that somehow reflected Doritos’ sports industry clothes men well, women’s sports brand character / enjoy less of a profile and women’s sports clothing This would be the first game created by the consumers sees less brand innovation / themselves. Tips for participants were to consider adidas’ link with Stella McCartney marked the first time aspects such as the intensity of the taste, the iconic that a high-end fashion designer had created a functional shapes or the bold packaging design. performance range for women. Collections include Gym Through the nature of the competition, fans were then Studio, Tennis, Running, Golf, Gym Yoga, Gym Dance, given a large expanse of time in which they had the Swim and Cover Ups. The collection is available through chance to engage and converse with both brands. 600 stores worldwide, including high-end department Further interaction was also encouraged through invites stores such as Harrods, and Nordstrom, as well as to test five other games, and a forum for discussing and adidas Sport Performance stores and selected sports voting on their experiences with these games. Finally, retailers worldwide. fans were able to download and play the winning game Both adidas and Stella McCartney benefit from reaching without any cost. new audiences and helping women who participate in The winning game, Doritos’ Dash of Destruction, sport. features a Doritos delivery truck and a T-Rex dinosaur in McCartney said: ‘I really wanted to change what I saw a high-speed chase. The goal of the truck is to reach the out there. Sports clothing for women, in particular tunnel at the other end of the map, while the goal of the sports performance was such an ill-dressed subject. dinosaur is to eat the truck. Players can choose to either The colours were very basic and hardly any variations in be the dinosaur or truck. design. I saw this as a real opportunity to put that right The campaign generated one million Doritos site and offer women something they could work out in and visitors, of which 72% were newcomers. Time spent on still feel good about the way they look.’ the site also increased to 11% during periods where adidas claim the collaboration has exceeded their users reviewed the games. Further, Xbox Live! saw more expectations for sales, margin and image. As the range than 160,000 Doritos theme packs downloaded, well enters its fourth year, sales are growing by an annual exceeding the known benchmark of 50,000. rate of 20%. Andy Roberts, reviewing the game at www.teamxbox. com, believes: ‘The coolest part of Doritos Dash of Destruction is that you get to see what a unique project it has been – where a non-professional designed a game and won the contest, then saw it come to life as an established developer built that game for public consumption.’ Tom Morton is executive planning director at TBWALondon Thanks to Mark Earls, Richard Huntingdon (Saatchi & Saatchi London), Gareth Kay (Modernista!), Adrian Langford, Ben Malbon (BBH New York), Frank Striefler (TBWAChiat DayLos Angeles), Silvia Bartels (Tequila London) and Faris Yakob (McCann Erickson New York) for offering examples for this article.