There’s something brilliant about that co-branded product: It’s a fun way to marry two classic brands into one delicious experience for fans of baking and chocolate alike. In fact, these brands still create new co-branded products to this day.
Co-branding is a strategic marketing and advertising partnership between two brands wherein the success of one brand brings success to its partner brand, too. Co-branding can be an effective way to build business, boost awareness, and break into new markets, and for a partnership to truly work, it has to be a win-win for all players in the game. Both audiences need to find value — like chocolate-loving fans of Betty Crocker and Hershey’s.
There are a ton of great examples of co-branding partnerships out there. Here are just some of them.
1. BMW & Louis Vuitton
Car manufacturer BMW and designer Louis Vuitton may not be the most obvious of pairings. But if you think about it, they have a few important things in common. If you focus on Louis Vuitton’s signature luggage lines, they’re both in the business of travel. They both value luxury. And finally, they’re both well-known, traditional brands that are known for high-quality craftsmanship.
These shared values are exactly why this co-branding campaign makes so much sense. In their partnership, BMW created a sports car model called the BMW i8, while Louis Vuitton designed an exclusive, four-piece set of suitcases and bags that fit perfectly into the car’s rear parcel shelf.
Although the four-piece luggage set goes for a whopping $20,000, the price is right for the target customer, as the BMW i8 starts at $135,700. A price like that kind of makes that luggage set seem like a drop in the bucket.
Not only does the luggage fit perfectly size-wise, but its design and appearance fit perfectly with BMW’s image: sleek, masculine, and high-quality. Turns out both the luggage and some parts of the car’s interior use carbon fiber, strong-yet-light composite material.
2. Uber & Spotify
Music-streaming app Spotify partnered with ride-hailing app Uber to create “a soundtrack for your ride.” This is a great example of a co-branding partnership between two very different products with very similar goals — to earn more users.
Here’s how it works: When riders are waiting for an Uber ride, they’re prompted to connect with Spotify and become the DJ of their trip. Users can choose from their own playlists to determine what they’ll listen to.
This smart co-branding partnership helps fans of Uber and Spotify alike enjoy better experiences thanks to the app. And they might be more interested in picking Uber and Spotify over competitors knowing they can enjoy their next ride listening to their favorite tunes.
3. Apple & MasterCard
Sometimes, co-branding partnerships aren’t just cool projects between two companies — they actually have practical value when the companies work together.
When Apple released the Apple Pay app, the brand effectively changed how people perform transactions. This app allows people to store their credit or debit card data on their phone, so they can use them without physically having the card with them. But in order for this app to succeed, it needs credit card companies to integrate with this technology. By the same token, credit card companies also face more competition themselves if they aren’t compatible with the latest consumer purchasing tool.
To get out ahead of its competition, MasterCard became the first credit card company to allow its users to store their credit and debit cards on Apple Pay. MasterCard not only showed support of a major consumer tech developer in this partnership — it evolved along with its own customers in how they choose to make purchases at the counter.
4. CoverGirl & Lucasfilm
Whenever a new installment of the beloved “Star Wars” series is released in theaters, it causes global pandemonium, and the release of “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens” in 2015 was no exception. The series’ parent company, Lucasfilm, partnered with CoverGirl to capture a broader audience to get fans new and old excited about the movie’s release.
You might be wondering, “What do “Star Wars” and makeup have in common?” And the cleverness of this partnership is evident in the answer.
In the past, the space-age action movies were almost exclusively advertised and targeted toward men and boys. But in this day and age, that’s nonsense — because people of all genders can be interested in space exploration and makeup contouring alike.
The line was designed by famed makeup artist Pat McGrath, and it features two styles: the Light Side and the Dark Side, which loyal “Star Wars” fans will recognize as the sides of good and evil in the movies.
This co-branding partnership was a win for both brand. Lucasfilm captured more attention and got CoverGirl shoppers (many of whom are young women) excited about the film’s release. And CoverGirl hopped on the “Star Wars” advertising bandwagon that took over the internet, stores, and TV leading up to the film’s release.
5. UNICEF & Target
If you have the chance to partner for a not-for-profit cause, it can pay off in multiple ways. In 2015, Target partnered with UNICEF on a campaign called Kid Power, which committed Target to one of UNICEF’s sustainable development goals (SDGs). The retailer sold kid-friendly fitness trackers encouraging the wearer to complete various fitness activities, which ultimately helped deliver food packets to underprivileged children around the world.
By selling this fun, inexpensive fitness product, Target encourages children to embrace a healthy lifestyle and uses kids’ successes to supply underserved communities with the resources they need. It’s an ongoing partnership that generates awareness of global malnutrition, helps UNICEF meet its demanding SDGs, and opens up Target to a demographic of giving families they might otherwise have had access to.
Check out my related post: How can we increase partnerships?