​Recently, I went to the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Whitney Museum in New York. It’s the largest retrospective of his work ever on display. It’s visually stunning and captivates at every turn. Warhol’s work is a phenomenon and remains very culturally relevant today especially after Burger King’s recent unexpected advertisement during the biggest football game of the year.

It wasn’t just the ad itself that was a surprise; it was the teaser social campaign that the brand created around the reveal to build anticipation. It created a stir, generated a lot of questions and ultimately a lot of buzz for the brand.

Unexpected marketing partnerships are a risk that brands need to embrace, especially in a tight media market where the fight for consumer eyeballs is intense. By unexpected, I mean finding a culturally-relevant partner that might not be something most would associate with your brand but that has some elements that might be attractive to a new audience. It’s also a way to surprise and delight existing customers while adding to your brand’s cultural/contemporary authenticity. Moreover, strategic partnerships are a cost-effective way to increase marketing ROI — if you negotiate your assets appropriately.

5 Questions to Ask

​When evaluating a partner, here are 5 questions to ask to determine if it’s right for you and if it’s worth the risk:

  1. Does the partner bring us a new desired audience?
  2. What level of credibility does the partner have? Could there be any backlash associated or is a little controversy good for your brand? (for example, some consumers barked at the Andy Warhol spot but it would be a shock if anyone stopped eating Whoppers as a result, so people talking about it, good or bad, is a win for brand exposure)
  3. Can we tie the partnership into other marketing campaigns, such as PR or social? Is there an opportunity for earned media?
  4. Are there opportunities for multi-channel exposure? For example, an in-store and online partnership?
  5. Is there a way to structure a partnership that is cost-effective and creates media savings too? For example, do you see barter marketing potential?

​Doing The Unexpected

​Building unexpected brand relationships can invigorate your brand and create fresh, new opportunities. Sometimes the risk is absolutely worth taking. It might be too early to tell what kind of results the Warhol campaign generated specifically, but the chain’s sales and average profitability of franchises are up in the last year. So, you do the math.

​These are just a few of the questions to take into consideration when evaluating a new brand partner. Regatta excels at creating effective brand partnerships and knows all the right questions to ask. Feel free to reach out and I would be more than happy to help you evaluate potential partners, create new opportunities, and increase your marketing ROI with marketing partnerships.