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The unconventional duos in cross-industry collaborations

By Miranda Lu and Matt Wang April 28, 2021

A fast-food company and a makeup brand might seem like an unlikely duo, but in a recent collaboration Tex-Mex style restaurant Chipotle teamed up with cosmetics label e.l.f. to launch a new makeup line that includes a 12-piece eyeshadow palette featuring matte and shimmer pigments in the shades of guacamole, brown rice, pinto beans and fajitas, bright “hot salsa” lip gloss, an avocado-shaped sponge set and more.

“It is certainly a strange concept, but brands such as Colourpop have Disney and Sailor Moon inspired makeup lines, so I am not too surprised that brands have turned to food for inspiration. I would consider buying it, depending on the colors included in the makeup palettes,” Senior Laurel Wu said.

Nicole Kim Art

The collection from e.l.f. includes four affordable, Chipotle-inspired makeup products, a free order of guacamole and chips with every purchase of the palette, plus a vegan “Eyes. Chips. Face.” bowl inspired by e.l.f.’s commitment to offering vegan options and maintaining cruelty-free sourcing. Reviewed by beauty Youtuber James Charles, the limited edition caught the attention of many teens, selling out in just 11 minutes on the Chipotle Goods website. In a bilateral statement, Tressie Lieberman, the Vice President of Digital Marketing at Chipotle, and Kory Marchisotto, the Chief Marketing Officer at e.l.f. Cosmetics, emphasized their desire to make genuine connections with Generation Z and celebrate shared environmentally-conscious values through the event.

Such teamwork between companies across different industries is not uncommon. Music streaming service Spotify has partnered with global candy chain M&M’s to create 28 different M&M message packs, each with a unique message and complementary Spotify playlist that matches the theme. Meanwhile, multinational technology corporation Microsoft has launched a “Music x Technology” platform, Nicole Kim Art

developed in collaboration with creative music agency Listen. With the goal of using Kinect technology to enhance live concerts, their most recent collaboration with singer Washed Out, also known as Ernest Greene, featured motion-sensing cameras and projections of psychedelic graphics to capture Greene’s impressionist view of the world.

According to Strive, many record companies are shifting focus to brand partnerships, which offers the artist new marketing platforms. Music labels especially are privileged with a unique opportunity to establish business partnerships with gaming companies: in-game spending. According to a 2021 MIDiA Research report, game aficionados are three times more likely to spend more Nicole Kim Art than six hours per week streaming music, compared to non-gamers. Global in-game spending has accounted for 70 percent of global games revenue in 2020, and is expected to increase. Compounded together, these statistics demonstrate the potential benefits of music partnerships with the gaming world. Some experts even claim the future of the music industry relies on artists to be global entrepreneurs–although modern technology has made access to music production and consumption easier, it has also made it harder for the increasing number of musicians to get noticed.

Recently, on April 19, McDonald’s Twitter announced the “BTS Meal”—a partnership with the South Korean pop group BTS featuring the seven members’ favorite orders—the latest of the McDonald’s Famous Orders program. Critics see the new “BTS Meal” as an empirically-proven marketing tactic, shown by the wild success of the Travis Scott Burger, which became so popular last fall it led to a shortage of ingredients at Nicole Kim Art

McDonald’s locations. The collaboration is not new for BTS either—they are the face of global brands like Samsung and Baskin-Robbins. Part of BTS’s colossal success comes from their huge online presence and massive fanbase, making the partnership a unique growth opportunity for McDonald’s.

Critics see the new “BTS Meal” as an empirically-proven marketing tactic, shown by the wild success of the Travis Scott Burger

Despite being a fast-food franchise, McDonald’s is also the world’s largest toy producer, supporting numerous entertainment brands in mutual partnerships as reported by Business Insider. Collaborations with McDonald’s can garner substantial publicity, as McDonald’s will promote the partnership in a fully-integrated marketing campaign that includes TV advertising, a large online presence, and in-restaurant merchandising at over 14,000 chain locations.

“The BTS Meal is a smart marketing strategy, as BTS has a huge international fandom eager to consume anything related to the boy band. Additionally, as a past Happy Meal lover, I can say that McDonald’s has been extremely strategic with their contemporary collaborations, especially with their Happy Meal toys,” Junior Nathan Kim said.

While the majority of inter-industry alliances have been successful and received positive feedback, a small number have received backlash, including the Supreme x Oreo and Supreme x Post-it Note partnerships. Haydn Hickson, a writer for media company Goat, described the former as a “101 In Consumerism Gone Mad,” and commented on how many of the streetwear brand’s collaborations simply involved placing the Supreme logo on an existing product, rather than designing something new and original.

[Critics] commented on how many of the streetwear brand’s collaborations simply involved placing the Supreme logo on an existing product, rather than designing something new and original.

“Products like Supreme’s partnerships are a clear reflection of the prevalence of consumerism and materialism in American culture—they are excessive, unnecessary and lack creativity,” Sophomore Lily Macdonald said.

Meanwhile, businesses have discovered that cross-industry cooperation increases efficiency for finding solutions. According to the Harvard Business Review, ecosystem innovation, a new process of problem-solving where organizations join forces early in the creative process to quickly generate and commercialize new ideas, was first introduced by California-based Nicole Kim Art technology company Cisco. It manifested in the form of the Berlin Living Lab, which involved meetings between Cisco and several other large companies in different industries—aerospace company Airbus, express mail service DHL and manufacturing business Caterpillar—with the companies working together to commercialize new concepts and solve the issues of their respective sectors. Cisco’s CEO, Chuck Robbins, explains that collaboration is necessary for all industries.

“We believe that no one company can deliver the full breadth of technology solutions that customers need at the pace the market requires,” Robbins said.

Despite the controversy over certain cross-industry projects, they offer opportunities to connect different industries as well as new marketing strategies. In an era where idea-sharing occurs at unprecedented rates, companies looking to increase their customer base and brand perception, along with those attempting to create a new hit product or to resolve a common problem, have been able to generate fresh ideas and solutions through cross-industry collaboration. As the world moves forward and encounters new challenges, a makeup company teaming up with a burrito-bowl restaurant might not seem so far-fetched after all.


About the Contributors

Miranda Lu

Staff Writer

Miranda Lu is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer. She enjoys hiking, reading, and watching movies in her free time.

Matt Wang

Sports Editor

Matt Wang a senior at Leland High School and the Sports Editor for the Charger Account. He enjoys photography, listening to music and playing League of Legends.

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