How brands can collaborate better creatively

Last week Marie Claire and Ocado launched a bricks and mortar version of Fabled, its online beauty store. In light of this, we ask designers which brands they think could collaborate effectively and why?

Georgia Fendley, executive creative director, Construct
Georgia Fendley, executive creative director, Construct

It would be great to see our cultural institutions sharing quality content with our social institutions; let’s take the National Gallery to the NHS. Prescribing culture as part of a cure is an interesting concept and might work just as well, if not better than any other therapy.

Genuine collaborations are sustainable, benefit everyone involved and share and grow knowledge within the participating organisations, what’s not to love!


Tom Sharp, creative director, The Beautiful Meme
Tom Sharp, creative director, The Beautiful Meme

71% of the population wear glasses. Specsavers own the negative of poor eyesight, but no brand owns the positive; the beauty, drama, life-affirming happiness of seeing properly. Boots, I’m squinting at you.

Now, forests are visually brilliant. The mad, Impressionist dappling of spring sunlight bouncing between leaves. The cosiness of a winter avenue, trees hooded with snow, bowing in pagan prayer. Stopping on a hill to spot three counties. The euphoria of perspective as you stand in a clearing to see the Milky Way bisect a coldly dark sky.

Boots Opticians and The Forestry Commission should talk to each other.


Jenny Theolin, creative partner at Studio Theolin
Jenny Theolin, creative partner, Studio Theolin

You know what I would love to see – two brands swapping employees for a month. I spent years working on internal brand campaigns and looking at the business from the inside. Instead of an external facing brand collaboration, I would like to see an internal one.

Think the Gucci folk swapping with VOLVO Group’s staff, or Nike’s people swapping with HSBC’s brand team. I am true believer that their people are part of their brand, so this could be a fantastic experience to see just how true they are to it.

The result could be a great PR story and the ideas may spawn new collaboration as well. Anyone wanna give it a go? I’ll facilitate.


Phil Carter, co-founder and creative director, Carter Wong Design
Phil Carter, co-founder and creative director, Carter Wong Design

I’d have to opt for two very disparate entities in Southeastern trains and Amazon. One delivers packages smoothly and efficiently across the globe in such an effortless manner that it’s difficult to remember a time before they existed.

The other tries desperately to deliver passengers from one destination to another across a comparatively small network but fails dismally, if the comments of their human cargo are anything to go by.

I can’t think of another service industry that has its own Facebook page, I Hate Southeastern trains (note the capital H in Hate, incidentally), dedicated to its general incompetence.

I know there will be many mitigating factors in why they provide such a poor service such as investment in the business, and no doubt union power. However, in a fanciful world wouldn’t those commuters view their carriages in a totally new light if they were emblazoned with the Amazon logo? I’m sure it would bring a smile to their faces too.


Sarah Tempest, co-founder and strategy director, Altogether Creative
Sarah Tempest, co-founder and strategy director, Altogether Creative

Recognising an affinity with another brand or spotting a niche, technology or craft that would complement each other brings a whole new level of brand experience and recognition to the customer.

Nike and Liberty have done it so well and I’m eagerly awaiting the outcome of the IKEA and Tom Dixon collaboration.

But rather than a visual or tech collaboration, I’m interested in how charities and brands can collaborate for the better. Viewed favourably by many but controversially in some communities, it could be interesting to encourage an organisation such as Airbnb with the ethos of Belong Anywhere to collaborate with Shelter, the charity campaigning for a home for everyone.

Could there be an Airbnb community shelter in highly populated city communities, a contribution from Airbnb, working with Shelter to help people to really “Belong Anywhere”?


Simon Manchipp
Simon Manchipp, owner and co-founder, SomeOne

On 19 June 2009, WHSmith apologised after promoting a book on cellar rapist Josef Fritzl as one of the “Top 50 Books for Dad” as a Father’s Day gift. Yes — you read that correctly.

Now… I’m ever the optimist, it really helps when your job is to launch and relaunch brands. And a team approach is a great way to innovate as well as help rejuvenate brands that have lost their way and become less relevant to their audiences.

So I’d love to see the billion-pound bounder that ties WHSmith up with a smart brand to help save its desperately awful stores.

Could Google save them? It organises the entire internet and makes it useful — perhaps it could reorganise the endless upset of 2kg bars of chocolate being attached to your morning newspaper purchase?

Any brand with its own twitter account (@WHS_Carpet — read it and weep) dedicated to just how deplorable the experience has become needs a strong new partnership.

Sadly, I suspect conventional brand tie-ups will not suffice here. Only the powers of Paul McKenna will do, add in David Blaine, Penn & Teller, hell, let’s throw Copperfield in there with Derren Brown too — because only one hell of a magic trick is going to turn this one around…


Daniela Nunzi Mihranian, creative director, Studio Minerva
Daniela Nunzi Mihranian, creative director, Studio Minerva

The Underground is the blood running through London connecting us to inspiring, creative design hubs. Born and raised in London, I was travelling by tube from a young age; let’s give it an overhaul and bring some personality back.

The British interior and lifestyle brand House of Hackney would do wonders with the interior of the classic underground train. Reupholstered seats in London-designed and manufactured fabrics, celebrating what is great about our city and its famous Underground.

House of Hackney could work its magic of tradition for a new generation making our journey that bit more inspiring.

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