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5 Most Memorable Brand Partnerships of the 2020s

Marketing

One of our core values here at Passion Digital is collaboration. We know we wouldn’t be anywhere without the efforts of our teams working with each other to deliver some of the best marketing campaigns.

But this isn’t groundbreaking or new — some of the biggest brands in the world collaborate all the time. And, if you consider A-list celebrities as their own brand, this number of collaborations grows exponentially.

Here, we’ll go through some of the most iconic, memorable and just downright bizarre brand collaborations of the 2020s so far (hey, we can’t dive too far back!)

Supreme X Pat McGrath

In a move that surprised us all, the cult skate brand teamed up with, arguably, the world’s most influential makeup artist. The Pat McGrath X Supreme collaboration of 2020 marked a partnership for all the fashion and beauty fans out there; those who absolutely must have the latest offerings. Like with any Supreme drop, the entire collection sold out within seconds — including the highly coveted McGrath lipstick in the iconic Supreme-red shade, which left yours truly heartbroken.

The lipstick itself marked the very first beauty product released by Supreme, and arrived in the signature Pat McGrath tube with gold lips, with the Supreme logo wrapping up the rest of the bullet case. This ingenious product packaging allows for the collaboration to shine, rather than force both brands to fight for the spotlight.

Palace X Moschino

No stranger to brand collaborations, Moschino partnered up with the London-based skateboard company, Palace, in 2020. The resulting collection is quintessentially, well, British. And this is a sentiment that the founder of Palace, Lev Tanju, definitely agrees with.

Describing the 23-piece collection, Tanju expresses how it’s “steeped in that British, 1990s, Moschino Jeans, going out to dance parties and raves culture and time”. You only need to take a quick glimpse at the collection to see he’s right. Think bucket hats, football shirts and garish retro prints.

The resulting collection wasn’t too left-field for either Palace or Moschino. The blend of styles worked well together, marking a drop that wasn’t out of the ordinary for either brand. While this was a safe move for both, we can’t help but think maybe they could have offered something more.

The Simpsons X Balenciaga

The French luxury fashion house teamed up with the longest-running American sitcom to produce an animated 10-minute film that premiered on 2 October 2021, during the legendary Paris Fashion Week.

The tongue-in-cheek short parodied a typical fashion runway while showcasing Balenciaga’s recent offerings to the fashion world, and was used in place of a traditional catwalk. And in true fashion week style, Anna Wintour and Demna Gvasalia (Balenciaga’s Creative Director) featured in the short — but were instead voiced by impersonators…

This unusual collaboration received a standing ovation when it premiered and led to a rather anti-climactic Simpsons-branded collection from the brand instead of an actual collection of new Balenciaga offerings.

If you’re looking for a campaign that actually will  lead to real-life, jaw-dropping results, get in touch with our Strategy team.

MSCHF X Lil Nas X

A collaboration embroiled in controversy at every step of the way, these 2021 trainers thrust MSCHF into the limelight in a way that none of their previous releases had done before.

MSCHF is notorious for being a collective that’s both difficult to define and infamous for bizarre limited collections. Whether that’s Guns 2 Swords (a buyback scheme that offered swords made from donated and melted guns) or these Lil Nas X Satan Shoes, which were made using real blood.

source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/los-angeles-jun-27-lil-nas-1998636125

Taking direct inspiration from the rapper’s MONTERO music video, the devilish trainers were comprised of unofficially modified Nike Air Max 97s which, perhaps unsurprisingly, left the sportswear giant seething. After facing a barrage of legal action and multiple lawsuits, the trainers reached new levels of coverage and an undisclosed settlement between MSCHF and Nike. While we don’t know the ins and outs of the deal, customers were able to return their $1,018 trainers for a full refund.

Lil Nas X, meanwhile, stayed relatively out of the legal proceedings, except to issue a fake apology video.

Is this whole collaboration iconic, or just plain weird?

Balmain X Barbie

At the time of writing, we’re not even six months into 2022, yet this one brand collaboration has left us enthralled. Everyone’s favourite doll entered the digital art world with her own NFT in collaboration with Balmain. Dressed head-to-toe in the fashion brand’s collections, Barbie and Ken pose for three unique NFTs. Each token grants the holder a bespoke set of Barbie-sized Balmain outfits, creating a wonderful crossover between digital and physical art.

source: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/blonde-barbie-beautiful-dress-doll-1057210910

Alongside the NFTs, Balmain’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, was proud to unveil his 50-piece gender-neutral collection (for adults, of course) that was inspired completely by Barbie. One of Rousteing’s highlights of the whole collection is a replica of a dress made for the Fabergé collection in 2012. Speaking to British Vogue, he explained: “I reproduced it exactly in pink, with all the straps and padding and Swarovskis.” Meanwhile, other (more affordable) clothes featured in the collection include the Balmain logo written in the Barbie font.

We absolutely love the idea that both Barbie and Balmain are able to coexist in both the plastic and the real world. With this stunning collection, everyone can live in a Barbie world.

These are just some brand partnership examples  that have stood out over the past couple of years. A good brand partnership requires careful strategising, meticulous research and a lot of creative thinking. Thankfully, the team at Passion Digital are more than qualified to partner up with businesses to deliver the best results. Whether you’re looking for organic content marketing, driven digital PR or data-driven PPC campaigns – or a combination of everything! – our teams work together to effectively collaborate with all our clients. Get in touch to find out more about what we can offer.