Gone are the days where the expanse of movie and tv show merch only extended to children’s toys, collectables and t-shirts. Brands, from all niches, now jump on collaborations with the next big film or show to produce everything from limited edition drinks and food to makeup and shoes to cars.
Brands are keen to collaborate with highly anticipated films and new tv seasons, which are likely to pull in millions of views, to connect with audiences who have the capability to become ‘fans’ or even ‘super-fans’ that don’t want the experience to end.
For studios and production companies, these brand collaborations are nothing short of brilliant from a financial point of view. The leveraging of the brand into multiple touch points is carried out by an external company, which allows more people to come into contact with the film or show.
Equally, for brands creating ‘themed’ products, the demand is created through the hype which the studios generate for their upcoming film or tv programme. The two work in tangent and extend the brand experience beyond a cinema trip or an episode each week.
It could be argued though that some collaborations don’t really occur ‘naturally’ and are becoming too forced so that any and all brands can jump on the bandwagon.
Game of Thrones
With the finale of the season and the entire series now out of the way, companies will have to find another cash-cow to utilise in their foreseeable brand collaborations, until the prequels at least.
The overarching and wide-spread popularity of Game of Thrones meant that brands from every corner of the world and every industry could find a way in. Integrating one of the most expensive and popular tv shows of all time (and its hashtag #ForTheThrone) into their marketing strategy was not only smart but offered creative license to create something different.
Food and drink brands including the likes of Johnnie Walker, Bud Light, Mountain Dew and Oreo have all created content supporting the latest season of Game of Thrones. From unique cans which only reveal the names on Arya’s list when chilled to a bespoke version of the intro animation, constructed entirely from Oreos.
Apparel and make-up brands also jumped on board the hype-train, releasing themed limited edition versions of their products based on iconography and characters, to create colourations and styles that represented them.
Adidas released a new line of themed shoes which allow fans to sport the colours of the House Targaryen, House Lannister, the Nights Watch or the White Walkers.
Whereas Urban Decay created a line of makeup and brushes which featured swords and Game of Thrones house-inspired colourways.
The effect of Marvel (and it’s parent company Disney) have probably touched just about every industry out there. Of course, we expect apparel, toys, games, lego and the rest, but now we have food, makeup, even cars and a whole bunch of other Marvel branded products to ensure we’re never far from the franchise.
Much like Urban Decay in the case of Game of Thrones, brands like Sephora have seen an opening in the market to rework their existing products into themed palettes and character inspired items, to further expand their customer base.
Vans have never been one to shy away from a collaboration and with Avengers: Endgame proving to be one of the highest grossing films of all times, amassing around $1.2billion on its opening weekend alone, it’s no wonder they hopped on this highly anticipated release, once again with a range of various kicks, bags, hats and tops.
Adidas even joined in with their own ‘Heroes Among Us’ collaboration, featuring artwork in the style of classic Marvel comics featuring basketball stars including Damian Lillard and James Harden, teaming their shoe colourways with Avengers favourite characters.
Since Audi’s cinematic debut in the first Iron Man film, with the R8, the brand collaboration has been a fixture within the Avengers films. The brand new Audi E-Tron made its debut in the latest instalment of the franchise, as Tony Stark’s ride of choice, after previewing in the brands most recent advert starring Brie Larson aka Captain Marvel.
This Netflix favourite has been absent from screens for well over a year now, however, fans haven’t forgotten about it and brands are making a point of embracing the nostalgic feel of the show through any means possible.
Polaroid is capitalising on the return of the series by reviving their OneStep2 model, originally sold in 1977. The new version features modern features such as longer battery life, a fixed-focus lens, self-timer and a USB charging capability. Complete with upside down logos and a vintage aesthetic, this special edition Polaroid camera can be bought with Stranger Things stylised film to complete the experience.
In just a few days, H&M are releasing their most recent collaboration, opting to steer away from the eerie 70s inspired apparel we’ve seen previously from brands such as Topshop and instead choosing to create an 80’s styled summer collection, employing Dacre Montgomery, who plays Billy in the show, to model the collection.
Not to mention the unexpected popularity of Eggo waffles which exploded after the shows second series aired in 2017. The brand quickly jumped on board of their sudden popularity on social media, leveraging content marketing to create recipe pairings for each episode, using the products favoured in the show by Eleven, and DIY ideas for costumes using the empty Eggo boxes.