10 unusual examples of brand partnerships in 2020

We explore brand hook-ups to come out of the COVID-19 crisis, from Uber and Petbarn to Binge and The Iconic

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Keeping consumers comfortable: Binge and The Iconic’s inactive wear

As COVID-19 turned staying into the new going out, streaming platform, Binge, and The Iconic partnered on the launch of a line of unisex luxe-loungewear under the ‘Inactivewear’ banner. 

Credit: Binge

The range included 19 different pieces, from jumpers, hoodies and sweatshirts to tracksuit pants, shorts and socks and was all focused on comfortable leisurewear that captured the essence of the stay-at-home reality of both sets of customers. The Binge and Iconic partnership also saw local model, Tahnee Atkinson, as brand ambassador for the new line of limited edition loungewear.

Keeping consumers fit: Fashion and FMCG brands dial up at-home workouts

In contrast, keeping fit was a key focus area for a raft of consumer brands looking to keep their customer engaged during lockdown. As a result, a flurry of partnerships were struck between fashion and FMCG brands with workout providers and gyms in order to deliver workout content directly into the homes of consumers.

One such example globally was deodorant brand, Rexona, which committed more than 1 million Euros to supporting fitness experts and communities globally. As part of its efforts, Rexona partnered with movement champions and partnerships, from pop group, Now United, to Chelsea and Manchester City football teams, to deliver creative and fun ways to stay active. These stretched from daily challenges to seven-day workouts.

Other brands tapping similar partnerships with workout experts locally included The Iconic, Stylerunner, PE Nation, Nike, Suncorp and Big W.

Keeping people employed: Woolworths takes on stood down staff from Qantas

COVID-19 left several industry categories forced to stand down staff in the face of huge challenges to their business and revenue generation models. One partnership trend to emerge off the back of this was temporary employment in businesses that were required to rapidly scale up headcount to cope with crisis demands.

A good example of this was Woolworths, which needed to fill 20,000 roles during the height of lockdown. To do this, the supermarket giant struck partnerships with the likes of Qantas, Village Entertainment, Michael Hill Jewellers, Cotton On, Accor and Super Retail Group to take on temporarily stood down employees.

The result was nearly 5000 short-term roles offered to Qantas Group employees taking leave without pay. Woolworths CEO, Brad Banducci, said working with a number of customer-focused businesses impacted by government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 was both about ensuring it could continue to serve customers, while also supporting the wider community.

“We’re hopeful these businesses will bounce back strongly once this crisis passes, and we want to do our bit to help them - and their people - get through the short-term challenge,” he stated at the time.

Technology access: Coles and Boost Mobile

Even as we come out of the thick of COVID-19 impact, the consumer and societal trends it’s seen brands reckon with continue into the next normal. One of the more recent partnerships we’ve seen exhibiting this long-term impact is between Coles and Boost Mobile, a youth-focused telco brand.

Credit: Coles

In November, the pair joined forces to offer Coles customers refurbished Apple iPhones while during their weekly shop. In a first for Coles, the phone comes unlocked but with premium Boost packaging and is bundled with a $10 Boost Mobile SIM. The fully refurbished mobiles with 32GB capacity and priced at $259. .   

Boost Mobile claims to be the first major prepaid supplier to offer refurbished smartphones when it launched its online Refurb Store in July 2019. The company said its partnership with Coles underlined the companies’ shared commitments to delivering value for customers while improving sustainability outcomes by extending the useful life of high-quality technology.

“Coles has had a strong mobile phone offering for many years, and this partnership with Boost to offer quality refurbished smartphones is another great way we can deliver value for our customers in a more sustainable way,” Coles general manager Non-Food, Jonathan Torr, said.

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