Culture is becoming increasingly globalized. As businesses become aware of this, some unlikely brand partnerships have occurred during the great search for synergy. Some have been roaring successes, and others not so much. Here, we’ll lay out five times unlikely brand partnerships worked out, and maybe even one time they didn’t.
1. Uber and Spotify
Imagine a world where you don’t have to drive yourself when you don’t want to do so. Uber can do that. Now imagine that the cost of that world is that you have to listen to whatever the driver wants, and your driver is really into Austrian Bicycle Horn Pop. Enter Spotify and Uber’s genius partnership. Using this partnership, users can queue up a playlist and have their taste of music playing right when the driver pulls up. This partnership has been a massive success and continues today.
2. Hyundai and Prada
So you want to enter the luxury car game, but you’re not the first brand that comes to mind when people think of luxury. All you have to do is set up a partnership with Prada, and they’ll provide you with a ticket to the big time. Only 1,200 Hyundai Genesis cars were produced, and most were sold in South Korea, but the brand partnership between Hyundai and Prada led to each car being priced at $80,000. Prada gave Hyundai the keys to the luxury market, and Hyundai gave Prada valuable press time.
3. Amazon and Snapchat
This brilliant partnership may end up leading to Amazon acquiring Snapchat, but for the time being, it’s still a partnership. Users can aim their Snapchat camera at any object, and if Amazon carries it, those users are redirected to be able to review and purchase the product right then and there. That’s converting users with the snap of a photo — almost instant conversion.
4. Coke and Heinz
This brand partnership doesn’t sound so great at first — Coke and Ketchup? No thanks. But the ramifications of this partnership may help the world out on a grand scale. In 2009, Coke announced an initiative to use “PlantBottles” — bottles that used 30% less plastic. Coke sought to expand this initiative to all packaging, and partnered with Heinz to begin reaching into the food market. By 2010, the pair had eliminated 30,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Now, they’re joined by Nike, Ford, and Proctor and Gamble to lead world plastic reduction, hoping to achieve a fully plant-based packaging supply chain.
5. Apple and U2
U2 served as the harbinger of the iPod in 2004, releasing an iconic commercial that led to the device becoming one of the hottest selling devices ever. The ad embodied the spirit of the Steve Jobs era and served as the marketing basis for all iTunes gift cards, and ad pushes in the following years. I personally remember how impactful the ad was, as I’m sure Apple and U2 remember how much money they made form the partnership.
BONUS: Not So Good Partnership
1. Apple and U2
You can’t win ’em all. In 2014, Apple rolled out the iPhone 6 and Apple Watch by including a U2 album on every device’s iTunes account for free. This decision was met with criticism and outcry. It was a rare, but a huge misstep by Apple. People felt that their intimately curated music libraries had been invaded by the partnership, and led to patches being made to remove the albums. Maybe the two brands will prosper in the future, but free album drops should not be part of future advertising pushes.