It was bound to happen eventually- with the expansion of brand collaborations and ‘capsule’ collections, why not simply merge the products of two competing brands? In order to celebrate the International Day of Peace on September 21st, one imagined proposal put social media into a frenzy: the creation of a “McWhopper”, the perfect hybrid of two star burgers. Burger King’s proposal was immediately turned down by McDonald’s, and the project never got off the ground. But it was enough to get us thinking of countless possibilities. In a shoe utopia for example, Stan Max (Stan Smith + Air Max) would only be a step away.
While brand execs may feel like they are walking on a tightrope with a small room for failure, what have they really got to lose? Sometimes sworn enemies can benefit from a joint decision to bury the hatchet…Why not create a product launched simultaneously by two different and competing brands, based on both their iconic trademarks? Imagine a smartphone conceived jointly by Apple and Samsung. A yogurt blended by Dannon and Yoplait. A car with the influences of both Opel and Renault.
Of course, the product would have to be available for a limited time only. It would be a ‘balanced’ product, where each brand would be clearly present and could express its own savoir-faire. It would be a ‘marketing punch’ of sorts, that could throw consumers off balance, who are always looking for ways to be surprised. It would also give brands an opportunity to get people talking, and to change perceptions about the specific brand and its market. The way we see it, the qualities and values of both brands combined that could produce the ‘best of the best’.
In an increasingly complex marketing landscape, the idea of direct rivals is less descriptive of concurrent brands than ever before. Left/Right is no longer a cut-and-dry political stance. Modern vs. traditional have stopped opposing one another, but have instead reinvented aesthetic market codes. Industrial is no longer the contrary of natural, and the list goes on.
So what are rival brands waiting for to put their beefs aside for the sake of creative collaboration?