3 memorable brand marketing partnerships

As Hellen Keller put it, “alone we can do so little: together we can do so much”. This is an adage that rings particularly true in the world of marketing.

A key strategy employed by brands of all sizes is to work with others in the form of brand partnerships, which, as marketing agency Pitch points out, can offer multiple benefits for brands. These include everything “from a bigger reach to evolving your brand messaging.”

Brand partnerships typically involve shared marketing activities that harness the strengths of each brand for the mutual benefit of both. Some businesses team up for one-off marketing campaigns, while others have long-standing relationships and regularly work together.

To hammer home the power of such campaigns and inspire your own brand to seek out new collaborators, here are three memorable marketing partnerships from the last few years.

  1. Johnnie Walker x Game of Thrones

Back in 2018, ahead of Game of Thrones’s seventh season, the TV show teamed up with whisky brand Johnnie Walker to launch a set of limited edition Game of Thrones-themed Scotches. After all, the HBO phenomenon’s main villains (White Walkers) share their name with the Scottish producers, so the brands already had something in common.

But it turned out the two had more similarities than was first apparent. Both White Walkers and Johnnie Walker’s north-most distilleries, Cardhu and Clynelish, are creatures of the cold, so naturally the limited edition whisky itself was made to be served chilled to really lean into the GoT theme. This is unlike most Scotch, which is typically enjoyed at room temperature.

The whisky bottles themselves also featured temperature-sensitive thermochromic ink, which only revealed the White Walker-themed design when frozen.

This partnership was a great example of how two polar opposite brands (a TV show and a whisky brand) can come together to successfully target new audiences. The proof was the pudding of the numbers, with Johnny Walker seeing sales rise by 7% in the months after the release of the limited edition Scotch.

  1. McDonald’s x Beyond Meat

While opposites can attract when it comes to brand marketing partnerships, the same is true for brands within the same industry. Okay, fast food giant McDonald’s and meat substitute producer Beyond Meat aren’t exactly two peas in a pod, but they were at least within the same sector.

McDonald’s is known for its meat-heavy menu, but in an increasingly environmentally-aware world, veganism is rising and food brands need to keep up. Consequently, McDonald’s partnership with Beyond Meat was a masterstroke in brand marketing partnerships.

From 2021, the latter started supplying McDonald’s with meat substitutes for its inaugural line of vegan products, with the fast food chain bringing the likes of the McPlant burger and vegan McNuggets to its menu. Despite disappointing sales in the US, the McPlant has proven particularly popular in countries such as the UK, Australia, and Ireland, so much so that McDonald’s recently announced the launch of the double McPlant.

  1. Hyundai x Chelsea FC

One successful indicator of a successful marketing partnership is when its content goes viral, and this is exactly what happened when car manufacturing giant Hyundai teamed up with Premier League side Chelsea FC.

Orchestrated by the aforementioned Pitch, the campaign involved an advert featuring then Chelsea stars Mason Mount and Erin Cuthbert. In the video, the footballers were disguised in full prosthetic outfits and tasked to go undercover as car dealers to try and persuade as many members of the public as they could to go for test drives in Hyundai cars.

However, the joke was actually on Mount and Cuthbert, as these seemingly unsuspecting customers were in fact actors secretly guided by their Chelsea teammates to try and catch the soccer stars out. Hilarity ensued, as both Mount and Cuthbert struggled with the technical nature of the so-called customers’ questions.

The clips were widely shared on social media and on platforms such as TalkSport and The Mirror, gaining millions of views and garnering a huge buzz around both brands in the process. Overall, the campaign showed the power of winning content in a marketing partnership — content that only worked because of the distinct niches of the two brands.


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