10 Awesome Brands that Broke Through With Entertainment Partnerships

A good entertainment partnership can work wonders for a brand. Whether it’s through product placement in a film or television series, a special event sponsorship, a celebrity endorsement, or even the creation of a new series around the brand itself, a well strategized partnership can spread brand awareness and increase sales even beyond the scope of traditional advertising.

Brandwood Global was established to help connect brands with celebrities and creatives to create the best partnership deals possible. Here are 10 awesome examples of brands that broke through with game-changing partnerships, to help you truly appreciate the power of what our services can create for you and your company.

1. Reese’s Pieces and E.T.
Talk about game changers. It’s nearly impossible to think of the film E.T. without thinking about that lovable little alien’s adoration of those colorful peanut butter candies—and to think it almost didn’t happen. The film makers first approached Mars to use M&Ms in the film, but when they passed, their competitor Hershey offered Reese’s Pieces. The result: Reese’s Pieces reportedly saw a 65% spike in profits just two weeks after E.T. was released.

Even 20 years later, the product and the film are still connected.

2. Red Bull Stratos
Red Bull energy drink has often aligned itself with extreme sports, not only sponsoring existing events, but investing their time and money to create new ones. One such event, a world-record shattering supersonic free fall from 128,100 feet in the stratosphere, created results that were truly out of this world. The live webcast itself totaled 52 million world-wide views, with more than 402 million views after the event, helping Red Bull to soar to a 13% increase in sales that year.

The branded world record free fall in its breathtaking entirety.

3. AT&T text messaging and American Idol.
When American Idol launched in 2003, text messaging was a little-used cellphone feature, with just over 1.5 billion messages sent per month, as compared to the whopping 6 billion texts sent every day in the U.S. in 2015. An argument could be made that AT&T’s partnered sponsorship of text message voting during American Idol helped influence this increase. The proof: over 600 million sms American Idol votes were sent though AT&T between 2003 and 2012 alone!

Funny co-branded commercial.

4. Subway and NBC’s Shows
In the mid-2000s, Subway meals became a popular staple on several NBC TV series. Following the relaxation of product placement laws, the sandwich restaurant launched an enthusiastic in-show marketing campaign to help raise brand awareness. One of the benefits of this type of campaign was that the money often went directly to the show, as opposed to going to the network. According to some reports, this direct funding actually saved NBC’s fan-favorite Chuck from cancelation.

Product placement to further the plot.

5. LEGO and The LEGO Movie
In 2014, the LEGO toy company launched a hugely successful brand content campaign following the release of The LEGO Movie. The film, which was a critical and consumer success, not only brought in $468 million in the box office, but also increased company sales by 11% to just over $2 billion – helping LEGO to overtake their rival, Mattel, as the number one toy manufacturer in the world for the first time ever.

Oscar-winning branded entertainment at its best.

6. Lana Steele: Makeup Spy and Estée Lauder Cosmetics
The popular web series Lana Steele: Makeup Spy was launched as an inventive promotion for Estée Lauder Cosmetics and their partner brands Bobbi Brown, Smashbox, and MAC, in 2015. The series cleverly combines in-story cosmetic tutorials with a serialized storyline that keeps viewers coming back for more, enticing them to try new products every time. At the date of this writing, Lana Steele: Makeup Spy has had over 1,470,008 views with over 525,000 subscribers.

Series trailer with clickable links to the brand sponsor websites.

7. OK GO and the Honda UNI-CUB
The band OK GO has always been an innovative trendsetter. Their music videos have utilized everything from synchronized treadmill dancing to expansive Rube Goldberg machines to gravity-defying flights. For “I Won’t Let You Down,” the inventive group partnered with Honda for a choreographed dance featuring the company’s prototype self-balancing electric UNI-CUB unicycles. So far, the video has earned over 28 million views and generated loads of early interest in the UNI-CUB’s launch.

The full stunning co-branded music video.

8. BMW Z3 and James Bond’s GoldenEye
Even a film franchise that’s over 30 years old can effectively launch a new product. After years of driving iconic Aston Martins, James Bond jumped behind the wheel of a BMW Z3 Roadster for 1995’s GoldenEye. The product placement reportedly cost BMW $3 million, but their investment paid off. Following the promotional appearance, the car company made $240 million in advance sales of their exciting new roadster.

The product placement with an 8000% return on investment.

Speaking of classic entertainment, you’d be hard pressed to find a rock and roll band that’s more classic than The Rolling Stones. That’s what made a band-brand partnership so attractive to the Citi financial company for a social marketing promotion of their North American 50 & Counting Tour in 2013. The promotion generated more than 747 million social impressions in just 8 weeks, reaching more than 5.3 million users onTwitter. Talk about promotional satisfaction.
Awesome video recap of CITI and Rolling Stones promotion.

10. NIKE and Michael Jordan
Last but certainly not least, we come to the incredible celebrity sponsorship partnership created by Nike and Michael Jordan. Not only did the NBA star lend his world-respected endorsement to the brand, he launched a brand new Nike product line with Air Jordan. To date, the stylish shoe line has grossed over $1 billion in sales. Now that’s a brand partnership slam dunk!

It’s all about the shoes!

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