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co branding

Dakarai Turner

More Collabs, More Life: Who Comes Out On Top In a Brand Partnership?

March 21, 2017

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, you are fully aware that Drake released his highly anticipated “playlist” titled More Life. With generally positive reviews surfacing, I still found my fair share of “culture vulture” comments as is usual with Drake in the last few years. For those out of the loop, a culture vulture is someone who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group in order to create their own identity. Drake is often criticized of this for his dancehall influenced songs, speaking patois, and remixing lesser known artists’ songs to stay relevant and propel himself, ultimately leaving them behind. After speaking with one of my friends about this over the weekend, it made me wonder if actual brands did the same thing.

I mean, not in the sense that they are exploiting another brand, but more so with brand partnerships. Is there usually one party that is the clear winner? Below are some of examples of brand partnerships and the winners out of the two.

H&M x Balmain

Both clothing brands released a collaborative collection in 2015 that as you can probably guess, sold out very quickly. The question is, “who’s the winner in this collaboration?” Definitely H&M. If we’re being completely honest here, those who shop at H&M (myself) are not in the same tax bracket as those who shop at Balmain. With that being the case, this collection opens doors for the H&M shopper to get a taste of Balmain clothing. Sure this increases brand awareness for the designer clothing retailer, but the likelihood of this H&M consumer buying a regularly priced Balmain item is pretty low. In the end it increases sales for H&M and heightens consumers perception of the brand.

Winner: H&M

Genius x Spotify

Music streaming service Spotify and Genius, a collection of song lyrics and user/artist generated music knowledge have paired together. “Behind the Music” is a set of  collaborative Spotify playlists that leverage lyrics from Genius for certain songs. This is a partnership that just simply makes sense. Pair the music with the lyrics. However, Genius is the winner out of the two. For most this is just a cool added service that Spotify provides. I’m likely not going to switch my streaming service for this feature or even get Spotify altogether. What I will do if I’m a Spotify user is pay attention to Genius after googling song lyrics. What Spotify should do is buy Genius, but that’s a whole other conversation and article frankly.

Winner: Spotify


Red Bull x GoPro

The two lifestyle brands realized they have something in common. They promote the same lifestyle. To further this idea, GoPro provides Red Bull athletes with equipment to capture all of their most thrill-seeking moments, and Red Bull is able to use the footage and sponsor the events. This is one of those cases in which it’s hard to pick a clear winner. Both brands benefit due to the fact that they share target segments.


The final verdict? In almost any form of collaboration there will be some sort of winner. The trick is to set up a brand partnership or collaboration with Drake that seems to be a match made in heaven. At the end of the day, you want consumers to be thinking “oh, that definitely makes sense”. So about that Drake x The Weekend album…

Any brand partnerships that you wanted to see make the list? Comment below and let us know!


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Malick Ba

Star Wars and Co-Branding

December 23, 2015

Whether you’re a fan of the series or not, you have to appreciate that over the last week the film Star Wars: The Force Awakens has done some incredible things and has broken the records that we all thought it would. In my opinion I think it’s probably the biggest movie to come out within the last 15 years. But how?  How does a film like this build so much revenue and hype that it can break records in its first weekend? The answer is pretty simple: exciting advertisements and co-branding.

Over the last few months, we’ve been bombarded with advertisements and promotions for the new film. A few days ago I was listening to the radio (I know right?) and a Bell Mobility commercial came on. While the ad was airing, the Star Wars main theme was playing in the background and instantly made me think of how badly I wanted to see the new movie and I was actually kind of engaged with what the commercial was saying about some phone I’ve already forgotten about. The point I’m trying to make is that advertising straight up works. Even though there was almost 0 connection between what Bell was trying to sell me and the Star Wars theme playing in the background, it peaked my interest, and I think that’s one of the main reasons why the film earned an estimated $247 million in its opening weekend.

There has been so much co-branding with this film subwayheader-161651, that it was hard to get away from it. Some of the brands that I interact with everyday have teamed up with the record breaking film to ensure that it could generate the most amount of revenue possible. Brands like Subway, Kraft, Verizon, and Duracell are just a few of the brands that I’ve come in contact with recently that have had a connection in some way to the new film. Will I buy more Kraft Dinner because it has a picture of Chewbacca on it? Probably not. But that’s not the point. The point is that when I buy a box of KD, or a sandwich at Subway, images in the store and on their packaging end up occupying space in my head about the new film which is basically the cornerstone for how advertising works. This is exactly how the movie has seen so much success since its opening day a few nights ago. Disney’s marketing team has used the force on its target audience  by successfully teaming up with so many different brands to cross-promote this film that there was almost no way that it would be set up to fail. No matter how anyone thought of the film’s actual plot in the first place.


Have you seen the movie yet? Think the advertising was a bit excessive? Let me know what you think.

Malick Ba is currently an aspiring marketing professional living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick is a senior at Humber College and is looking forward to what he can provide to the marketing world upon graduation. Follow him onTwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.