Lewis and Clark. Orville and Wilbur. Hall and Oates. Three examples of how forming a partnership can lead to big things – from exploring everything west of the Mississippi River to writing the song “Maneater.”

And like the success it brought to those dynamic duos, partnering up can do wonders for brands as well. For example, this week, McDonald’s Monopoly (Hasbro) is kicking off its 27th year of million dollar giveaways. (More like Baltic Avenue and a free Coke.) Also, Apple and U2 have recently reunited (by awkwardly touching fingers) to change the world like only they can – with technology and feelings.

So how can co-branding benefit you? Glad you asked.

  • It can reinforce your brand attributes. If you share the same values with another brand, joining forces could amplify them.
  • When brands complement each other, they become more appealing to the consumer. You like Betty Crocker? You like Hershey’s? You’ll f’in love these brownies.
  • It can add credibility to your brand. Real Smucker’s fruit in my Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts? Move over, morning smoothie!
  • It can even help your company save money. Like putting a Taco Bell, a KFC, and a Pizza Hut in the same building. (Kentaco Hut?)


But for all these co-branding dreams to come true, it helps to have a clear strategy in place. Apple and Nike can move (or run) in the same direction because they share the same goals. The same goes for Dodge and Anchorman. But Paris Hilton and Carl’s Jr. (NSFW or any other time) is more of a head-scratcher. So make sure it’s a brand that works strategically, creatively, and compatibly with yours.

And of course, the same rules apply for sponsoring an event, aligning with a charity, or finding a lovable ad agency in Cleveland that can provide this level of creativity to a tire commercial.

Speaking of partnerships, we found the “I” in team!