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Creative Works Brand Strategy Brand Partnerships

Pringles & Caviar: The unlikeliest brand collaborations often work the best

By Fiona Faint, Digital PR Manager

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February 23, 2024 | 8 min read

Pringles and caviar, anyone? It‘s often the least expected brand collaborations that work the best, says Fiona Faint of No Brainer. Here are four such examples.

Pringles displayed neatly against a red background

Pringles collaboration with The Caviar Co. is a great example of an unexpected brand partnership, says Fiona Faint. / Mahbod Akhzami via Unsplash

From big-hitting fashion retailers like Nike to coffee chain Starbucks, many successful companies dip their toes into the pool of brand collaborations. These creative fusions can bring together brands, influencers, celebrities, and artists in a bid to bring new meaning into brand messaging.

No Brainer's recent E-commerce Trends Report found influencer marketing to be the fifth most effective digital marketing channel, indicating these collaborations are here to stay.

Brand collabs can be used to capture new audiences, generate buzz, enhance brand affinity and boost sales. But the mashups that stand out are often the ones the consumer least expects. The more unconventional the pairing, it seems, the greater the engagement surrounding a campaign.

Here are five examples to inspire your next co-branding campaign and get you thinking outside the box:

1. Just Eat & Snoop Dog

As with many collaborations, this partnership was designed to enable Just Eat to attract a fresh demographic while engaging existing customers. The brand wanted a recognizable face for the campaign as well as a unique jingle that incorporated its well-known sonic 'Did somebody say?' logo.

Labeled by the press as 2020’s ‘biggest brand collaboration’, the Snoop Dogg and Just Eat ad proved a huge success and was viewed more than four million times in its first three days.

Since then, the online food order and delivery platform has continued to ride the momentum with ads featuring Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, and rising rapper Latto.

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2. Nike & Ben & Jerry’s

In another surprising collaboration, Nike joined forces with Ben & Jerry’s to create the most hyped trainers of 2020. The Nike Chunky Dunky is a perfect fusion inspired by the beloved ice cream flavor, Chunky Monkey.

A limited release sold out almost immediately. Fortunate consumers who secured a pair were treated to a delightful surprise: their trainers arrived packaged in a specially designed box mirroring the iconic Chunky Monkey packaging.

Today, sneakerheads can still get their hands on a pair if they’re willing to pay resale prices of up to £3,000.

3. Pringles & The Caviar Co

For an unexpected collaboration to elevate brand appeal, take a cue from Pringles. The brand’s partnership with The Caviar Co last year turned heads and rode the wave of a viral sensation.

Dubbed by the media as "the unexpected treat you didn't know you needed," this lowbrow-highbrow fusion was inspired by a food combo served up in an episode of "The Real Housewives of New York City."

The idea of luxury fish eggs on the crispy potato chips swiftly gained momentum on TikTok, accumulating more than 10bn views and clearly capturing the attention of both companies.

Discussions began and before long the 'Crisps and Caviar' collection was born, catering to the tastes of seasoned caviar enthusiasts and newbies alike.

The takeaway? Marketing teams should seize the opportunity to explore unexpected partnerships – they might just be the key to unlocking new and exciting brand dynamics, while winning new customers.

4. Crocs & just about anyone

Crocs has boldly embraced its reputation as the 'ugliest' shoe, which is made up by it also being the comfiest. Taste and preference aside, the brand’s success is in part down to its use of countless collabs.

From partnering with celebrities such as Justin Bieber, iconic films such as Shrek, and legendary rap group Wu-Tang, to unexpected alliances with fast-food giants McDonalds and KFC, it seems Crocs will collaborate with just about anyone.

And why not? Andrew Rees, the CEO of Crocs believes in using the "extrinsic tension" of people’s dislike for the brand to create PR and media opportunities – along with new customers.

Although Crocs seems not to be picky when it comes to collabs, rest assured, the brand works with a tight strategy. Rees has said he thinks a collaboration should always be “a little controversial, but not too controversial”.

Remember, associating with a brand or artist known to be overly controversial can carry the risk of creating friction with your core customer base.

Mastering the art of the collab positions your brand as dynamic and innovative, ready to captivate the market. No matter how brilliant, or ugly, your product is.

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