The unexpected is expected: What’s next for brand ‘collabs’

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Analysis, Public Relations

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Collaboration is a way to increase brain power and create something fresh and exciting. In many instances, collaborations take place within the same industry. We have seen this in music, where duets and features have always been plentiful. Though more recently, collaborations in the same field are increasingly ‘left-of-field.’

Pop duets are no longer the golden rule—are audiences craving the unexpected? This shift has paved the way for a new and intriguing movement we’ve seen bubbling up into the mainstream: cross-industry brand partnerships. In this new world of fusion, the wackier the better. Several major players have championed the move in this direction—from Playstation and Deliveroo, to Lego and Turkish Airlines, they’re proving that a brand doesn’t need to solely exist in their industry, but can experiment elsewhere and receive symbiotic benefits.

Playstation, pioneering collaboration

Since the early noughties, Playstation has been a pioneering force in the world of collaboration. Playstation’s games Tony Hawk Pro Skater and Thrasher: Search and Destroy partnered with fashion brands Zoo York and Supreme, featuring their brand posters and branded outfits and accessories. Though individually each player is part of the skating world, Playstation operates in the gaming industry whereas Zoo York and Supreme are fashion brands. This combination on a single platform was one of the first instances of seeing cross-industry partnerships in action.

Fast forward to 2021, Playstation announced they would be launching Playstation to Plate in collaboration with Deliveroo. The initiative will offer players the opportunity to order and eat meals inspired by Playstation’s most popular games. It’s no stretch to say that in the last 20 years, gaming has become an international phenomenon. Today, games are more immersive than ever. New technologies such as VR work to completely engage your audiovisual senses while you play, Playstation is taking this one step further, allowing users to taste and smell the game universe – while at the same time, cementing themselves as forward-thinkers in the realm of brand collaboration.

The unexpected is expected: What's next for brand ‘collabs’

Turkish Airlines and Lego

Even more ‘left-of-field’ is Turkish Airlines’ (THY) new collaboration with Lego. Coinciding with the release of Lego Movie 2, in 2019, THY premiered a in-flight safety video that features the cast of the film among other recognizable characters including Batman and Wonderwoman (in Lego form that is!). This is an extremely inventive way for Lego to promote their new project to a global audience – the airline flew 44.8 million passengers to over 200 destinations in 2021. Their reach is wide – and the safety presentation is the only piece of in-flight media all passengers view.

According to M. İlker Aycı, chairman of the board and the executive committee at THY, this is a way that both brands can further bring together generations and cultures everywhere. For Turkish Airlines, this unlikely collaboration with Lego creates an in-flight experience that is fun and lighthearted, building their status as an attractive airline. The mutual benefits of this collaboration prove the value of offbeat partnerships.

The unexpected is expected: What's next for brand ‘collabs’

Collaboration is changing – what we’re seeing today is the weird, the wacky, and the unexpected. Barriers surrounding industries are beginning to dissipate, thanks to partnerships that are breaking these boundaries in the most organic ways. These unlikely pairings will be even more abundant in the future, and brands need to be ready for it.

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Max Steinert
Max Steinert is Creative Coordinator at New Moon.


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