What makes a brand collab work?

Brand collaborations can lead to fun, limited edition projects and fresh perspectives. But what makes (or breaks) a good collab?

There’s something very special about two brands you love coming together to create magic. Get it right and you can feel like you’re being listened to. Get it wrong and it can feel a bit like you’re being beaten around the head with a money stick.

“If you’re not collaborating, or partnering, in 2022 (and it’s not on the gram), did it even happen?” laughs Sophie Lewis, chief strategy officer at M&C Saatchi London. “Suddenly, it’s as if the world has woken up to the power of the partnership. What’s clear in 2022 is that no brand is an island.”

A good brand partnership can result in greater recognition for both, increased productivity, and increased creative resources. As ‘moment marketing’ becomes the norm, more and more brands are realising the benefits of joining forces to make the most of the mood. There are some beautiful examples of brands coming together, sometimes to capitalise on a PR moment, other times for the greater good.

Burger King partnered with Robinhood cryptocurrency late last year, has done several collaborations with K-pop bands, and partnered with cult drama Stranger Things. In 2017 it leaned on its rivalry with McDonald’s to do good by supporting its competitor with its charitable fundraising campaign for children with cancer in Argentina, encouraging its customers to ‘go a day without a Whopper’.

Photograph of a Smeg and Coca-Cola branded fridge in red and white
Top: Polaroid x Nike SB Dunk Low Pro collab; Above: Smeg collaboration with Coca-Cola