In China’s marketing scene, brands in just about every sector have shown great willingness to engage in “cross-border” partnerships capable of reaching beyond those already familiar with their core products, and consumer appetite for cool collaborations shows no signs of abating. Trendy brand collaborations from the food and beverage industry have been in high demand among global brands that seek to appeal to their young consumers who spend heavily on lifestyle goods and services So with that in mind, here is our list of best brand collaborations from August 2020:
Top Pick: Netflix x Pearl Studio x Lady M
A three-way collaboration between Netflix, the premium confectioner Lady M, and Pearl Studio (formerly known as Oriental Dreamworks) offers a limited-edition mooncake gift box that promotes the animated musical “Over the Moon,” a partnership that fuses Hollywood and China.
The Lady M mooncakes are housed in a lantern-shaped package that includes scenes from the Pearl Studios-produced, Netflix-distributed film, an adaptation of the Chang’e folk tale that is the origin for the consumption of mooncakes (key pieces of the Mid-Autumn Festival).
Following the less traditional route taken by the collaboration, the Lady M mooncakes come in two sweet flavors (egg custard and chocolate custard) and are individually wrapped. The gift set also includes a bag, greeting card, instruction card, and a gift envelope.
Compared to the awkward limited-edition items that brands have created around Chinese holiday for years — such as slapping a zodiac animal onto a wallet or wristwatch and calling it a special edition Lunar New Year collection — the Netflix-Lady M-Pearl Studio partnership actually works pretty well and respects the traditions and rituals of the Mid-Autumn Festival while appealing to consumers in an interactive, enjoyable way.
The collaboration also manages that difficult feat of balancing three brands and letting each shine rather than creating a muddled mess. All three companies come out looking like they put equal effort into creating something interesting that remains promotional in essence.
Five more noteworthy collaborations from August 2020:
Adidas x Hey Tea
Adidas announced a partnership with one of China’s favorite brand collaborators, the popular beverage chain Hey Tea, on a highly covetable drop of the ZX model sneaker. Inspired by Hey Tea’s “Succulent Grape” drink, the shoe uses various shades of purple against a milky white base and the beverage brand’s logo for a very on-trend product that fuses the disparate but complementary youth trends of streetwear and fruity milk tea in a limited-edition package.
Starbucks x Steiff
The American coffee giant originally introduced “Bearista” stuffed animals back in 1997, but they have been rarely seen in U.S. stores in recent years while making more regular appearances in Asian markets such as China, where branded toy collaborations are hugely popular. Starbucks recently offered an upgraded version of the character through a collaboration between its high-end Shanghai Reserve Roastery boutique and German plush toy maker Steiff, with an initial release of 500 handcrafted bears produced as collectors’ items with high resale value.
Everlane x Ele.me
The heated competition between on-demand delivery platforms Ele.me and rival Meituan Dianping is driving expansion into new areas beyond food, such as beauty products from Sephora and other premium goods. The Alibaba-owned Ele.me has also been branching out into fashion and other categories through a series of collaborations. To mark its first anniversary in the Chinese market while highlighting the values of sustainability at its core, American D2C fashion brand Everlane partnered with Ele.me and Shanghai boutique chain Seesaw Coffee to produce an environmentally friendly “lunch” set that included a bento box and t-shirt made from recycled materials along with a package of Seesaw’s sustainably sourced coffee.
Gentle Monster x Huawei
The South Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster aims to straddle a range of creative spheres in its collaborations, working with musicians such as Kris Wu and Diplo, enlisting artists to create boundary-pushing virtual pieces, and leaning into high-tech through its latest joint effort with Huawei. The new “smart glasses” project is the second collaboration between Gentle Monster and the Chinese tech giant, featuring upgraded designs for the 12-piece collection of frames that can play music and transmit calls.
JNBYHome x Pidan
China’s booming pet market is worth nearly $30 billion and is expected to grow by 15% annually over the next five years. The coronavirus experience has brought out greater appreciation for animal companions and amplified the trend of splurging on premium products for them, from imported pet food to fanciful clothing. Chinese fashion brand JNBY’s home furnishings line, JNBYHome, partnered with the pet product supplier Pidan (maker of stylish cat litter boxes and toys) on a limited edition box set that included matching human pajamas, an eye mask, and bow ties.