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20 Oct 2023

Do Opposites Attract? How to create impactful brand collaboration from contrasting Identities - Part 2

Do Opposites Attract? How to create impactful brand collaboration from contrasting Identities - Part 2

Image credit: archdigest Instagram

In the ever-evolving landscape of marketing and brand partnerships, we return for the next chapter of our exploration into the fascinating world of unexpected collaborations. In Part 1, we looked at psychology theories and took a journey through the power of brand collaborations that defy conventional forms. As we embark on Part 2 of why opposites can attract, we'll delve further into the more remarkable examples that not only embody that but also highlight why they worked and key takeaways to consider if you’re looking to make an unexpected breakthrough collaboration.

Breaking Industry Boundaries to Become Supreme

When exploring brand collaborations, bridging the gap between fashion industries and other sectors tends to be quite common. From Nike & Tiffany merging empowering sports and elegant jewellery to Gucci x The North Face and Francis Bourgeois, fusing high-end fashion customers with adventurers, both collaborations take a values-led approach.

Unexpected brand collaborations can also take place within the same industry and different categories and, as we’ve previously established when it comes to creating mischievous marketing brands or campaigns, breaking the norms sparks truly great ideas. Take the trailblazing collaboration example from Supreme and Louis Vuitton (2017).

In the realm of streetwear, Supreme reigns supreme (pun intended). The brand’s rebellious spirit, limited releases, and loyal following have made it a force to be reckoned with over the years. On the other hand, Louis Vuitton, with its heritage of luxury and timeless sophistication, has graced runways and red carpets for generations. Two powerhouses seemingly worlds apart, yet an unexpected and legendary match.

When the news broke about the Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration, the fashion world was shaken to its core. Streetwear enthusiasts and high-fashion connoisseurs found themselves standing at the crossroads of a cultural shift. The unlikely pairing of streetwear aesthetics with the epitome of luxury was a narrative that challenged the conventions of what both could be, igniting a new cultural phenomenon.

Supreme x Louis Vuitton’s collaboration transcended mere product releases. It became a symbol of the fusion of subcultures, the convergence of different worlds, and the celebration of individuality. The resulting collection was not only a benefit for instant sales, but it was also a beacon of inspiration which one could argue was one of the pioneers of the luxury streetwear movement, carving a new path for the industry.

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The Art of Seamless Integration: Combining Two Brands

Bringing the conversation to more recent times, the secret to creating an unforgettable brand collaboration is the art of seamless integration.

Incorporating the complementary needs theory mentioned earlier, a great example of opposites attracting through seamless integration is the Architectural Digest (AD) x Barbie collaboration. Amongst the hype of many campaigns in the lead-up to the Barbie film debut (2023), this pairing caught our eye.

At first glance, you might wonder how an architecture and design magazine could possibly find common ground with a beloved doll brand like Barbie. But that’s the beauty of thoughtful collaboration – it’s all about identifying shared values and aspirations while complementing one another.

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Credit: archdigest Instagram

AD is renowned for its phenomenal home tours and for teaming up with the doll brand to show Barbie’s Dreamhouse struck a chord with its audience in a way that few could have anticipated. Pulling the attention of dreamers and design enthusiasts alike, this brand collaboration highlights the importance of bringing your audiences into your journey through exclusive content and creating a joyful experience that could convert*.

*A global survey revealed that almost twice as many people say they are likely to buy from brands that bring them a sense of joy (49%)

This unique partnership allowed AD to tap into Barbie’s large and devoted fan base, breathing new life into the brand and rejuvenating its image. On the other hand, Barbie received a fresh injection of relevance and sophistication through association with a respected architecture and design publication. The collaboration opened doors to cross-promotional opportunities, and through its explosive social media buzz enabled both brands to amplify their message and extend their reach. 

Ultimately, the AD x Barbie collaboration exemplifies how seamless integration can transcend traditional marketing strategies and generate a profound, lasting impact. By merging their unique identities and celebrating shared values, both brands elevated their reputations fostered deeper connections with their audience and left an indelible mark in the minds and hearts of consumers.

How to Approach Your Brand Collaboration: Embracing Opposites for Phenomenal Opportunities

Daring to collaborate with brands that might seem like polar opposites, and perhaps even rivals can unlock a world of phenomenal opportunities (factoring in the complementary needs theory), leaving a lasting impact on both your audiences and your business. While venturing into this territory may feel risky, however, it is far from impossible, and with a clear strategic brand identity, shared core values, and a spark of creativity, success is within reach.


Shade O. Thompson

Shade is a Marketing Manager focussing on social and content marketing. 

Experienced in both B2B and B2C marketing, Shade is also a professional photographer, creating content all round.

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