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Better Together: Co-Branding vs. Co-Marketing


Some things are just meant to go together, like peanut butter and jelly or macaroni and cheese, but what about your favorite brands? Try Spotify and Uber or the Best Friends Animal Society and Buzzfeed. These brands come together for creative collaborations that boost sales, brand exposure and allow them to authentically enter new markets.

Co-Brand vs. Co-Marketing

Both co-branding and co-marketing involve two brands joining forces, sharing resources and developing an idea together, but the product of that partnership is where the two differ.


Co-branding is where brands join forces to create a product representative of both brands. This means the brands are joining expertise to create on product or service they will provide in collaboration with each other's expertise.

Developing a new product can be an expensive feat. Still, co-branding allows for partners to share funds, resources and costs. It also opens up a door to gain exposure in a new market. Consumers who are loyal to your partner may be more open to adopting your brand if one they already trust seems to support you.

Co-branded products also receive twice the "marketing hype." The buzz about the new product will come from two separate brand audiences and can be promoted by two sets of marketing teams.


Co-marketing is when brands marketing efforts to promote each other's products or services. A campaign or messaging strategy may be created, but not a physical co-branded product or service.

When brands come together, they can share resources and see things from new perspectives. Marketers from different teams can brainstorm together and come up with completely new creative ideas for how marketing separate services together can be useful for both sides.

When a partner markets your services or products to their audience, they are not only putting out a creatively crafted message but a message of trust in your brand. Consumers are likely to be more receptive to a brand they already trust and are more likely to explore your brand.


Red Bull and GoPro – Co-Marketing

In 2016, Red Bull and GoPro announced a multi-year global co-marketing partnership that would include content production, distribution and cross-promotion. The brand's partnership was said to achieve the goal of "inspiring the world to live bigger." While the brand's products are in completely different industries, food and beverages vs. video and technology, they both promote a message of living life on the edge and trying new, adventurous things. GoPro equipment was used for a year to film high energy Red Bull events like the number of extreme sports they sponsor.

Taco Bell and Doritos – Co-Branding


In March of 2012, the famous Taco Bell menu staple, the Doritos Locos Tacos, was debuted. This co-branded product by Taco Bell and Dorito is essentially just a nacho cheese-flavored taco shell with the typical Taco Bell fillings, but fans went wild. Taco Bell sold over one billion of the special tacos in the first year of the debut.

This partnership is interesting because it was not a limited run, the menu item is still available today. However, it may question if the product would have sustained or been even remotely successful in the launch if it had been labeled just a nacho cheese shell and not a Doritos Nacho Cheese shell. The brand recognition of Doritos and Taco Bell lovers seems to be fulling the sale of this product for the foreseen future.

Uber and Spotify – Co-Marketing

Perhaps the best part of driving around is getting to plug into the aux cord and stream your own music. However, this isn't always possible when you take a ride-share service like Uber. In 2014, Uber and music streaming service Spotify teamed up to achieve a common goal, earn more users with a creative partnership.

When Uber riders requested a ride, they could be matched with a music-enabled uber and were prompted to select a playlist while they wait for their driver. The playlist could be a personal one the user already has if they are a Spotify user or one generated by Spotify. Once riders are in the car, their playlist will begin for the duration of their ride. Both partners invested extensively in promoting the partnership and encouraging their users to ride Uber to customize their tunes or to use Spotify to create the perfect playlist for their next Uber ride.

BMW & Louis Vuitton – Co-Branding

BMW & Louis Vuitton – Co-Branding

While this pairing may seem like a bitch of stretch, think about the core values of each brand. They are both value luxury, travel, sleek style and high-quality craftsmanship. The brands designed a four-piece set of suitcases that fit perfectly into the rear parcel shelf of the BMW i8. The design of the bags models the same sleek, black interior of the car.

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Meet the Author

Emily Zekonis

Emily Zekonis
Acquisitions Manager at Oliver and Barney

Emily is formarly a Marketing and Events Graduate Service Assistant for the Marketing Communications Online Programs through the Reed College of Media at West Virginia University. She is currently the Acquisitions Manager at Oliver and Marketing Manager at Barney. She is an alumna of WVU's M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and has been working in marketing for over 3 years.

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