Co-Branding: These 6 examples show how partnering companies can bring mutual success | Covering the Intersections of Race, Culture, Sexuality, and Fashion | 48min

Co-Branding: These 6 examples show how partnering companies can bring mutual success

The Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell and Doritos is a co-branding success story

Big brands, little brands, microbrands, global brands, local brands. Brands are everywhere these days.

Thanks to social media, brands have more opportunities to reach and engage with consumers than ever before. Online exposure and distribution have also lowered the barrier of entry to the point where almost anyone can launch a brand.

Such optimal conditions have led to a glut of brands in almost every imaginable industry of consumer goods and services. In order to stand out in fiercely competitive landscapes, co-branding is an increasingly common practice.

In co-branding, individual brands partner together in strategic marketing alliances, jointly creating unique goods and services. Here we take a look at five recent and upcoming co-brand partnerships and examine why each one works.

Betty Crocker and Hershey’s

Betty Crocker, General Mills’ famous brand of mix-and-bake sweet treats, teamed with chocolate giant Hershey’s in 2013. The partnership is still thriving six years later, and consumers love the result—Betty Crocker cookie mixes, cupcake mixes, and frostings infused with Hershey’s brand flavors like Reese’s peanut butter, Almond Joy, Special Dark, and of course, Hershey’s milk chocolate.  

This co-branding example demonstrates how brands succeed by merging strengths. Betty Crocker is a trusted name in bake mixes while Hershey’s is home to a number of iconic candy bars. Neither brand would achieve the same reach dipping into the other’s marketplace alone.

Betty Crocker frosting selections with Hershey flavors

Photo by theimpulsivebuy / CC BY-SA 2.0

BMW and Louis Vuitton

One is an automaker and the other a heralded fashion house, but BMW and Louis Vuitton have more in common than you may think.

Both brands cater to affluent, luxury-minded customers. And since Louis Vuitton designs fashion-forward luggage, both are in the travel goods business.

A co-branding opportunity arose in 2014 when BMW released their next generation hybrid i8 model. Louis Vuitton joined the venture by offering a specially crafted luggage set that perfectly fits the i8’s trunk space.

The pairing isn’t for everyone—the i8 costs nearly $150,000 while the Louis Vuitton accompaniment is an extra $20,000. But for the right well-heeled customers, this co-brand is a luxury must-have.

Fox Sports and The Stars Group

Online sports betting in the US is a rapidly developing industry. Seven states now permit fans to wager on games and tournaments in a variety of sports, and a handful of additional states are expected to soon enter the fray.

The movement is opening the door to some interesting co-brand partnerships as media companies compete for a slice of the market.  

An early entry into the space is FOX Bet, an upcoming sports betting and content platform. FOX Bet is the joint brainchild of the Fox Sports and the Stars Group, the established online gaming company behind the PokerStars brand.

In addition to the betting service, FOX Bet will also offer a free to play game with cash prizes when launched this fall. 

Apple and Nike

Since the release of the first iPods in the early 2000s, Apple and Nike have partnered on integrated fitness technology. What began as a mission to bring music from Apple devices to the workouts of Nike loyalists has evolved into Nike+.

Now, trackers embedded in an array of Nike-branded goods, from “smart” clothing and shoes to basketballs, collects and transmits fitness data to Apple iPhone apps.

The Nike+ ecosystem creates a robust fitness experience for users that is brimming with the latest capabilities from two beloved brands.

Taco Bell and Doritos

Casual Mexican food chain Taco Bell and tasty snack brand Doritos have struck gold in recent years with the co-branded Doritos Locos Taco.

The product marries Taco Bell’s signature taco with a crunchy shell derived from the classic Doritos recipe of corn masa and nacho cheese dust. The tacos were wrapped in Doritos bags upon release, firmly anchoring the product in a context familiar to consumers.

Taco Bell sold an estimated 1 billion Doritos Locos Tacos in the first year. Along the way, the ubiquitous restaurant and snack chip authored a compelling co-branding case study that illustrates how separate brands can boost sales and reach when partnering together.

Converse and Comme Des Garcons

Converse isn’t a stranger to brand collaborations with brands. One of their most-popular and definitely one of their most ubiquitous is the work they did with fashion brand Comme des GARÇONS and their iconic heart-adorned take on the Converse Chuck Taylors. Many of the sneakers in the collection have a simple minimalistic base with white or black canvas upper with a bold heel stripe, white rubber toe cap, off-white midsole. No matter, the collection sold out due to the instantly recognizable CDG heart graphic character playfully peeking over the midsole’s edge.

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