Three industry-leading brands – streetwear brand Superdry, auto manufacturer Subaru and travel retailer STA Travel – have launched a collaboration to celebrate the launch of a range of new jackets by Superdry.
Named the #InYourElement campaign, the initiative will see four of Australia’s most popular social media influencers – Reece Hawkins, Hannah Perera, Luke Bakhuizen and Emma Carey – sent to four “elemental” locations by STA Travel, wearing Superdry jackets, to be met on-site by a new Subaru.
Additionally, the brands will be launching physical activations across key shopping centre locations in Australia, such as Chadstone and Westfield Sydney City.
“The activations within key centres will involve the strategic placement of a custom-wrapped, Superdry-branded Subaru WRX STI … parked alongside a four-metre Superdry-branded wall,” explained Antony Hampson, general brand manager at Superdry.
“Both the maverick identity of the Superdry brand and the adventurous nature of the #InYourElement campaign drew significant alignments to both Subaru and STA Travel.”
According to Hampson, the three brands hold significant alignments, from Subaru’s Japanese inspiration to STA Travel’s commitment to “bridging Aussies to an elemental world of adventures”.
The collaboration of such leading brands is “unheard of”, Hampson claimed, and has never before been executed in the Australian marketplace.
“We are investing in both physical activations and OOH advertising within high-traffic locations that are in close proximity to our stores to impact both consideration and conversion, both of which are key KPIs for this campaign,” he continued.
“We ultimately want to impact traffic into our store network as our primary objective while continuing to create exciting content for our existing and new customers to engage with the brand. Driving awareness around our key product category – jackets! – is an ongoing focus within our market.”
Similar brand collaborations are likely to become more prominent in the future, especially as retailers and brands realise the synergies available.
“Collaborations are valuable strategic initiatives that can help brands accelerate growth, reach new audiences or generations, increase brand equity and drive awareness,” said Emma Sharley, director of Sharley Consulting, a marketing consultancy group that works across retail, lifestyle and technology brands.
If executed well, Sharley explained, such collaborations can allow brands to increase the relevance of their message – but they can also run the risk of muddying it.
“Many collaborations make sense, but some lack cohesion,” Sharley said.
“When entering a partnership, you have to question the purpose behind the partnership. Is it aligned with your brand story, direction and principles?
“Will the target audience understand the brand promise, both collectively and from each individual brand? And how will it influence current and future perceptions of the participating brands?”
A good example of such a decision was made by Nike near the end of 2018, when the sports retailer unveiled a collaboration with controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
Tactical or not, the decision both drew the ire of customers and commentators worldwide, as well as free advertising to the tune of $59 million, and caused a 15 per cent bump in Nike’s net income over the first quarter of 2019 to $1.52 billion.
Similarly, Adidas was able to drive brand value up 57 per cent last year off the back of strong partnerships, said Sharley, with the most successful being with environmental group Parley for the Oceans – utilising plastic that could otherwise end up in the ocean for Adidas products.
Pacific Brands director Shannon Morgan said the brand had observed a twofold change as a result of the campaign – one in consumers, and one in staff.
“We know that consumers resonate with the idea that “what you stand for is what you make”, which is why we live by the movement that through sport we can change lives,” Morgan said.