Partnering consumer brands with fashion, music, sport and film in the form of endorsement and sponsorship has been commonplace for decades now, however, how this has evolved over the last few years - particularly in light of digital creative content stemming from such brands - has essentially become more strategically exclusive with the consumer brand fast becoming the heart of the actual launch in question.
A key example from the last few weeks (that has generated a lot of buzz) is the questionable launch of Beyoncé 's fifth studio album. As yet untitled, we know that it is in production and with the commercial partnerships that have been nailed over the last three months, we know that it has tracks - namely Grown Woman and Standing On The Sun. In almost an obscure role reversal - and in spite of rumour and speculation as to whether the album is actually finished or the label is having second thoughts about releasing it - these tracks only debuted due to the commercials/digital films for Pepsi and H&M respectively.
Music videos becoming the new adverts is one thing, but debuting an album via commercial partnerships is practically unheard of.
Did Pepsi and H&M bid more for this level of exclusivity? Was it planned all long or has it taken place by chance due to the label and artist questioning the content of the record? It's unlikely that a global tour would be activated with no new content, so my bets are on the fact that the album has been delayed and the commercial partnerships that were planned around the launch (along with the Superbowl, Vogue covers and various other promotional opportunities), which means that Pepsi and H&M got A LOT more bang for their buck.
So what can we expect? An album launch in Q3 with no promo and no global domination of complimenting commercial partnerships? Probably.
This brings me onto the other side of the coin. When an emerging consumer brand partners with a creative set on branded grassroots content across PR, social, digital marketing, experiential and product placement to firmly establish itself at the root of an industry.
You might have seen the breathtaking campaign that Snow Queen Vodka released this year featuring leading female models shot by Ellen Von Unwerth and styled by Sascha Lilic. The campaign itself doubled as a calendar made available for purchase and gifting.
Following on from this, the brand has tapped a new creative duo for the launch of their debut men's wear collection at London Collections: Men in June. Tying intrinsically into every element of the campaign - from the fashion film and publicity to the showcase in London on June 16, Snow Queen has announced its official affiliation with Ada + Nik for Spring/Summer 14 - the ten piece capsule collection that ex-Alexander McQueen designer and pioneering ethical designer Ada Zanditon has created with yours truly.
Brought together by an admiration for similar creative inspiration Ada and I have joined forces to co-create this distinctive label, debuting with a Greco-Roman Punk inspired collection. It features ten unique pieces bringing to life my love for a monochrome and minimalist luxe aesthetic, nodding to Ada's previous collections. But what of Snow Queen Vodka's involvement? They're essentially working collaboratively with us on all of the creative brand elements - particularly the fashion film being shot by Thomas Knights which is going to feature a globally recognized artist (not Beyoncé), and the showcase taking place at St Martins Lane Hotel on June 16.
As the two brands go, they share an incredible amount in common - from their creative vision (Ellen Von Unwerth is a dream collaborator for Ada + Nik in the future) to the Greco-Roman Punk theme (note the Snow Queen/visual icon-in-the-making's spear) along with the random mutual adoration of ice-sculptures.
On scale and perception this obviously isn't a Beyoncé for Pepsi campaign, but it is the perfect inverse and scalable example of a progressive and intelligent consumer brand leveraging fashion content to drive awareness and grow influence - thereby maximizing awareness through creative content that wouldn't traditionally be seen as a standalone campaign without appropriate talent and influencer backing.