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Branding
FIVE POWERFUL BRAND CROSSOVERS
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by LINDA BENNETT

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Brands team up all the time to take their message further than they ever could alone, but their mileage may vary.

Brand crossovers aren’t new. But every once in a while, we find a few that are just right for the messaging of the brands involved, and the audiences they’re trying to connect with.

Here are a handful of our favorites from recent memory.

BIRCHBOX, MAD MEN & RIFLE PAPER COMPANY

BIRCHBOX

Birchbox is best known as a subscription box for women that delivers samples of beauty products to them once a month, but the company also launched Birchbox Men to let guys in on the fun. To commemorate the start of Mad Men’s final season, Birchbox collaborated with AMC to create a limited edition Mad Men-themed box for each.

For anyone who’s not a fan of Mad Men – or anyone who’s just in love with beautiful floral patterns – Birchbox also collaborated with Anna Bond, founder of Rifle Paper Company, to design a box for their April theme, “Fresh For Spring.”

LILY PULITZER FOR TARGET

LILY PULITZER

The arrival of Lily Pulitzer for Target was a little bit like a mini-Black Friday frenzy. People lined up on launch day as early as 5AM in some places, and after opening the items sold out within minutes. Unfortunately for the people who missed out on launch day, Target probably won’t restock them anytime soon, if ever.

A lot of customers went home angry and empty-handed, showing the downside of introducing a brand that everyone wants a piece of in such limited quantities. But if Target’s goal was solely to get eyes on their own brand and entice shoppers to rush through their doors, there’s no doubting their success.

BANK OF AMERICA & KHAN ACADEMY: BETTER MONEY HABITS

BANK OF AMERICA

When Sal Khan first started Khan Academy, he felt a responsibility to teach others the way he wishes he had been taught growing up, by distilling the principles behind dozens of subjects into easy-to-understand, visually-annotated video lessons that help students learn to ask the right questions in any situation.

Now, he’s collaborating with Bank of America to bring the same kind of approach to financial education. Better Money Habits gives adults who want to make more informed decisions about their money practical examples that are easy to understand.

AUDI & THE AVENGERS: STRIKING

AUDI

“Striking” is the theme of Audi’s latest commercial featuring The Avengers, and between the striking good looks of the cast, and Thor and Hulk striking everything in sight with their respective superpowers, Audi is making the most of the wordplay.

On the web, Audi and Marvel are capitalizing on Iron Man’s cool factor to promote The Evolution of Tony Stark’s Awesome Audi Cars, which he drove in the first Avengers movie as well as all of the Iron Man films that came before it.

LEGO & LITERALLY EVERYONE

LEGO

In the mid-2000s, LEGO struggled with the problem of giving their designers too much creative freedom, spawning a mess of overly-complicated products and a failed cartoon starring LEGO characters that were too confusing for kids to even play with.

In the incredible turnaround that followed, brand collaborations became a massive part of LEGO’s business, creating a new way for kids to invite their favorite characters from other franchises into the worlds they imagine.

Maybe you’ve heard of some of them: LEGO Star Wars. LEGO Avengers. LEGO Harry Potter. LEGO Lord of the Rings. LEGO Batman. LEGO Indiana Jones. LEGO Ninja Turtles. Even a collaboration with NASA to create models like a LEGO model of the Curiosity Rover they sent to Mars in 2012.

Is there anyone or anything out there that hasn’t been transformed into a LEGO minifigure yet?

By providing fresh and unexpected content for social media efforts, brand crossovers can be a cornerstone of many inbound marketing plans. They bring fresh associations to a brand attribute, reinforcing messages by adding creative and dramatic context. For both startups and household names, brand collaboration can have exponential effects, provided the chemistry is right.

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