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The best brand activations


Some marketing stunts become overnight successes. Some are easily forgotten, while others stick. Here are some of our team’s favourite partnership activations and celebrity endorsements.

10. Kmart and Joe Boxer: A match made in heaven

Beyond the obvious intent to entertain, this cobranded ad is great. Why? First, the similarity of the target audience shared by the two companies is bang on. Second, it is a straightforward association between a manufacturer and a retailer, which can better drive sales for both companies.

9. LG and South African Rugby: Clean and dirty

How do you tell a story about an appliance brand and a sports team? Thinking outside the box when using sponsorship assets in a meaningful way went a long way for this partnership. The clever use of LG’s branding at the stadium led to many more impressions online as the content went viral.


8. H&M and David Beckham: Nice backside

Beckham collaborated with the Swedish company to create an underwear collection. The relevance between the sex symbol and men’s underwear is brilliant in itself; however, including a third player in Guy Ritchie to create an unforgettable ad is even better! Ritchie also collaborated with BMW in the past to create mini-films that proved to be online sensations. We added the links as a bonus.

BMW Films

7. Volvo and Jean-Claude Van Damme: A stable partnership

A celebrity endorsement is the same as a sponsorship: two brands coming together in the hopes of transmitting the positive attributes of the sponsee to the sponsor. The Volvo-Van Damme duo definitely achieves that goal. It’s hard to imagine a more powerful and sticky way to convey product features with an added element of surprise and humor.

6. Chipotle: Storytelling and partnership with Coldplay

The Cultivate campaign might not be deemed a partnership in the true sense of the word; however, the way Chipotle used Coldplay to create an event and generate added buzz beyond the campaign is a great example of how sponsorships can be added to an integrated marketing program for greater value. For these social claims and partnerships to work, you need to make sure that the values between partners are aligned and that you have, as a brand, the legitimacy to venture into the social real, which is definitely the case here. (Coldplay’s haunting classic “The Scientist” is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack)

5. Oreo and Superbowl: Did somebody turn off the lights?

The famous Oreo Tweet was posted during 2013 Superbowl opposing the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. The agency set up a war room during the game to offer real-time engagement with Superbowl fans and better leverage the costly TV ads. The cleverness and sense of timing deserve much respect.


4. SHELL and Ferrari: Diamond anniversary

Sponsorships really generate value in the long run. How about fifty plus years? This partnership still provides tremendous value to both brands and acts as a true competitive advantage that no rival brand can easily replicate.

3. Ellen’s Oscar Selfie: Quite a catch

This was scripted and planned to some extent, which could have been a pretty lame product placement. Samsung was in luck. With so many stars in the audience, the selfie took an unexpected twist. Publicis CEO Maurice Levy has valued Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie at between $800 million and $1 billion worth of impressions. Due to the popularity, Samsung quickly reacted and decided to donate $3 million, splitting the money between DeGeneres’ non-profit’s: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the Humane Society.



 2. P&G Mums

The Mum program was created out of deep consumer insight: women are the main decisions makers for most of the brands offered by the company, such as Pampers, Duracell and Tide. That insight was the foundation that led to the creation of the Olympic program. Besides the global campaign that played on emotions and spoke the universal language of sport, P&G put money were its mouth was and invested to enable athletes’ parents to travel to the Olympics. This long-term successful initiative boosted sales by $500 million in 2012during the London summer Olympics.

1. GoPro

Who would have thought that this small piece of hardware, which began its commercialisation as we know it in 2009, would be such a game changer? Go Pro’s association with Red Bull is a spectacular partnership, allowing millions of viewers every day to enjoy epic accomplishments. “Be a Hero” and “Gives you wings” is the perfect example of synergies generated naturally by two partners’ know-how.


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