Brand collaborations have always been a popular marketing tactic, especially in the beverage industry. Whether it’s a brand partnering with a celebrity, a brand partnering with a movie on a new release, or two brands from the food and beverage industry collaborating together to offer consumers new taste profiles, these collaborations are a powerful way for brands to generate buzz and sales.
Seeking Star Power
The most impactful brand collaborations are the ones that feel authentic. The two brands must fit – they must share values, mission and goals – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to have the same audience. One key benefit of a brand collaboration is that both brands get to expand their audiences and reach new consumers.
Brand collaborations with celebrities are a tactic often used by brands to generate news around a new product and tap into a larger audience. Take for example Water Drop’s collaboration with supermodel Adriana Lima that launched in April. Adriana Lima partnered with Water Drop on a limited edition water bottle to help promote Waterdrop’s mission to be “the world‘s leading hydration brand empowering people around the globe to live healthier and more sustainable lives.” Collaborations such as these give brands an opportunity to reach a new audience, while giving the celebrity a chance to promote something that aligns with their values and image. These types of collaborations also provide overwhelmed consumers with a trusted link to a product. In this particular example, fans of Adriana Lima might see her promotion of Waterdrop and think “I like and trust Adriana, so I’ll give Waterdrop a try.”
Other notable collaborations between celebrities and beverage brands include the popular campaigns of Michael Bublé and Bubly Seltzer water, and Justin Timberlake and Bai Water. Both campaigns immediately went viral and created a cultural moment that people couldn’t stop talking about. In the case of Michael Bublé and Bubly – his endorsement eventually led to the creation of his own limited edition flavor – released last Christmas – called “Merry Berry Bublé.
Tapping into Cultural Moments
Another popular collaboration tactic used by brands is the release of a product line that coincides with the release of a new movie, music album or a major national or international event. A brand that’s done this type of collaboration recently is Olipop’s limited edition flavor that was released in tandem with the release of the new movie Minions: Rise of Gru. Olipop’s new flavor, Banana Cream, comes with packaging that includes promotion of the Minions movie. Collaborations like these generate consumer excitement and increased sales due to the scarcity of the limited edition flavor. This type of brand collaboration relies on creating a viral moment among consumers – something that everyone is talking about that no one wants to miss out on.
Another great example of brands celebrating a cultural moment is the collaboration between Cann and Weedmaps to celebrate Pride Month this year. Cann, a cannabis infused beverage company, unveiled a new song and music video that features Patricia Arquette, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gus Kenworthy, and Hayley Kiyoko alongside stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race.
“As a queer-founded brand, it was a dream come true to work on this campaign with the most amazing tribe of queer icons and celebrity allies to introduce the new Lite flavors while championing our message of equality for Pride,” Cann co-founder Luke Anderson said in an official release. “By casting the most diverse supergroup of trailblazers imaginable, spanning sexuality and gender identity spectrums, this campaign reminds everyone just how empty the world would be if we submit to narratives of LGBTQ+ erasure. In a world where ‘Don’t Say Gay’ is gaining momentum, we’re excited to promote a utopia of queer joy.”
Cann’s Pride Month collaboration with Weedmaps is a perfect example of an authentic collaboration between two brands that share the same values and goals. Not only does their collaborative video generate buzz and excitement around their brand, it also supports the LGBTQ+ community and promotes their message of equality and inclusivity that is central to their brands.
Two Brands are Better Than One
Probably the most common type of brand collaboration is brands collaborating with other brands. We see this in the market all the time – recently with the collaboration between C4 and Skittles, as part of C4’s candy-inspired drink line that they released in February. The product line played on the nostalgia that the Skittles candy evokes, while keeping in line with C4’s performance enhancing mission. This collaboration allowed C4 to get the attention of an audience outside of their typical consumer that is focused on sports performance.
One beverage brand best known for their fun and creative flavor collaborations is Ghost Energy. This brand has collaborated with nearly every candy brand – from Sour Patch Kids to Swedish Fish – to give consumers a zero-sugar energy drink with the candy flavors that they love.
Another more recent example of this cross brand collaboration is Coca Cola’s collaboration with Jack Daniels on their new RTD jack-and-coke canned cocktail. As soda consumption declines, Coca Cola is using new marketing strategies such as this recent brand collaboration to pivot into the alcohol space and reach consumers where they are. Ready-to-drink beverages have been the fastest growing alcohol segment since 2018, according to IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, and Coca Cola is clearly taking note, joining a growing number of companies that are pivoting to RTD canned-cocktails.
Brand collaborations can help brands tap into new audiences, generate excitement about a new product or limited edition flavor, or even help a brand pivot to a new area of the market. As the beverage market becomes increasingly competitive, brand collaborations will be an essential marketing tactic to help companies stand out from the competition.