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Advertising Collaboration

Entertaining bedfellows: why partnering is a smart idea

By Tamara Gillan, CEO

Cherry London


The Drum Network article

This content is produced by The Drum Network, a paid-for membership club for CEOs and their agencies who want to share their expertise and grow their business.

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July 20, 2018 | 6 min read

Morecambe and Wise. Bette Davies and Joan Crawford. Aerosmith and Run DMC. Collaborations have always created magic in the world of entertainment.

Cherry London client O2 has reaped the rewards through collaboration

Cherry London client O2 has reaped the rewards through collaboration

Today, collaboration means brands coming together to create magical customer experiences. From Uber and Spotify creating musical rides, to Red Bull and Go-Pro capturing adrenalin rush experiences to entertain their customer bases, partnerships that combine an entertainment brand with one from a totally different sector are on the increase.

Making less entertaining brands more exciting

For brands on the less entertaining end of the scale, tapping into customers’ passions (which are often film, or gaming and/or music) is a smart way to create more engaging conversations with a customer base. No one wants to read about insurance in their inbox every week, but new films - well that’s considered far more interesting!

Loyalty programmes for sectors like insurance, financial services or telecoms, are turning to brands that create or distribute engaging content, or provide entertaining real life experiences, to become more memorable and exciting.

Cherry client, Saga, is giving its ‘possibilities members’ a broad range of discounts and special offers as well as entertainment benefits that give their members the chance to ‘take centre stage’ and participate in exclusive events. They are invited, for example, to exclusive cinema screenings, and to specially curated events such as Mica Paris at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Another Cherry London client, O2, has built its loyalty platform on providing priority customers with privileges across music, film and gaming that they couldn’t experience elsewhere. For example, customers have had the chance to see exclusive screenings of Star Wars, or to play Call of Duty before anyone else.

American Express ‘Unstaged’, goes one step further and actually creates platforms for music artists to launch new material. Unstaged live-streams gigs to customers around the world, but also calls in famous directors and producers to bring the shows to life and give them more credibility. It’s a clever way of appealing to new audiences outside of music, and an extremely cost-effective way for entertainment artists to market themselves. And, importantly for American Express, they create engagement with their customer base, and brand differentiation.

Entertaining equals

Fashion and music have always been natural bedfellows, and increasingly brands are working with artists to find new audiences and create new stories. Converse recently created the ‘One Star Hotel’ pop up in Shoreditch, featuring achingly cool emerging music artists, to associate itself with a particular scene. Levi’s Music Project teams up with artists like grime-star Skepta to help develop new talent and support communities, making its ‘supporting grass roots’ platform come alive on a more UK based level. Cherry client Simply Be is offering its perks loyalty programme members a VIP chance to see the hottest London musical, partnering with ATG.

Partnerships create new audiences for entertainment brands

Entertainment brands are also creating partnerships to find new ways to reach new audiences more cost effectively.

Disney’s Marvel Avengers franchise, shows how partnership marketing has evolved. When the original Avengers was first released in 2012, Harley Davidson paid for product placement and Dr Pepper created limited edition Avengers cans. Avengers Infinity War has broken box office records in the US, taking a more sophisticated approach allowing partner brands to tell their own stories. For example, Disney has partnered with eBay plus a YouTuber, Colin Furze, a madcap inventor with nearly 6 million YouTube subscribers, who has created a series of videos that show him constructing a real life Iron-Man suit with items sourced solely from online auctions on eBay. This more integrated approach is becoming common place in entertainment partnerships as it offers a deeper understanding of both partners’ offering and is not just a revenue generating exercise for Disney.

Partnership marketing can create a better customer experience

Whether you’re an entertainment or financial services brand, or anything in between, partnership marketing is becoming more important in the marketing mix - making budgets work smarter and creating more engaging experiences for customers.

In a recent study conducted among senior marketeers from a range of sectors by The Melbourne Business School (on behalf of Cherry London), 93% agreed that business performance can benefit from partnership marketing initiatives, 81% agreed that collaborating with other brands can result in more efficient use of company budgets, and 69% agreed that when two or more brands work together, it produces a better customer experience.

Collaboration, authenticity and people

Authenticity is key. Where Diageo got it wrong with pink-washing Johnnie to Jane Walker on International Women’s Day, they’re getting it right with Smirnoff’s Equalising Music, an initiative to promote gender diversity in dance music, that partners with credible festivals, DJs and music networks such as

People follow people not brands. Influencers are important than ever, and smart collaborations not just with brands, can create new ways of engaging with prospects.

If you want to be fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together, as collaboration breeds creativity. When brands who share similar values work together, extraordinary things happen.

Creating a partnership with an entertainment brand could create that extra magic to take your brand to that next step, taking you to the red-carpet.

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared in The Drum Network Entertainment special.

Tamara Gillan, CEO and founder, Cherry London

Advertising Collaboration

Content by The Drum Network member:

Cherry London

Cherry London is a new breed of marketing agency with a story about the power of collaboration. Independently owned, it is based in London and works globally. As...

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