Marketing is taking the same topic and making it interesting every single day of the year.

A brilliant way for marketers to do this and grab the attention of the masses is through collaborations with other brands. 

But as great as a collaboration with a like-minded brand is, nothing gets people talking like a collab with a brand that has absolutely nothing in common with another brand!

Here, media update's Saads Abrahams explores some unlikely brand collabs and why they worked.

Dolce & Gabbana X  Smeg

When Smeg announced that it had collabed with Dolce & Gabbana, the announcement somehow made sense — for a good few reasons. 

One is that they are both Italian brands and two is that they are both considered to be high-end brands. Smeg is also known for creating aesthetic kitchenware, so when they announced their collaboration with Dolce & Gabbana, anyone with an eye for design and style lost their minds. 

What was originally meant to be a once-off collaboration turned into a recurring partnership. Starting in 2017, they teamed up again in 2018 and again in 2019. 

The reason that this collaboration works, again and again, is that even though these brands are in two completely different departments, they both have a passion for creating something beautiful and inspired.

Dolce & Gabbana

Clinique X Crayola

This collaboration took an adult make-up brand and a childhood staple, and it made a nostalgic collection that hyped up every millennial!

This unique pairing actually makes sense once you see the collection. The two brands came together and took Clinique's popular Chubby Stick and made a limited-edition 10-shade collection — with the sticks looking like a box of Crayola crayons and the design on them as well. 

Now, this worked for a couple of reasons. Both of these brands are connected to an art form, which resulted in the collab making sense. But the main reason this unique pairing works is that it plays into the Clinique audience's nostalgia, getting them excited to try this product. 

As the senior vice president for product development for Clinique Janet Pardo stated

"To us, the point is that when you look at one, it makes you smile. So, the obvious connection to that happy feeling is with a box of crayons. It brings you back to a carefree time in life — when you didn't have stress because you were a child. You could create whatever you wanted; you had endless amounts of time, and you could just play."



Heinz X Absolute

Now despite both of these brands providing products you consume, it is definitely not a pairing anyone would immediately put togetheraka sauce and alcohol.

Heinz sauces and Absolute vodka are both distinctive brands through their logos and packaging designs — and are both really big brands in their own right. 

A creamy vodka pasta sauce has been something that people have been creating for a long time, and it also went viral in 2020 on social media. Now, a collab like this could be a disaster, but these brands executed the campaign brilliantly while tapping into a specific audience

These two major brands saw an opportunity to create a product that would make this process much easier. 

But it was more than that: Their success lay in being smart and making it a limited edition collab — and this does two things:

  1. It creates hype and buzz.

  2. It gives the brands a chance to see how the product does before investing in a product that people might not buy.


Charlotte Tilbury X F1 Academy

When you think of Formula 1, many people think of men and fast cars. However, there are female drivers and fans in this sport. 

Global beauty brand Charlotte Tilbury knew this and became "the first female-founded beauty brand to partner with F1 ACADEMY and also enter into their first-ever global sports sponsorship."

This collab is brilliant — not only does it aim to empower women in a male-dominated environment, but it has the possibility to create new fans for the make-up brand and Formula 1.

By tapping into a market that no one has before, the partnership's offering gives this collab an edge — they are opening a window to an audience that existed but has never been targeted.

Charlotte Tilbury

What are your thoughts on brands collabing with unexpected brands? Let us know in the comment section below.

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*Image courtesy of Canva