AI imagines the weirdest brand collabs yet

Brand collabs have been an inescapable trend in marketing in recent years, and some of them have been totally unexpected. For every match made in heaven, we've also seen a random mashup designed, apparently, with the only intention of shifting a few limited-edition items.

Now one creative agency has let its imagination run wild to see what other bizarre collabs between big-name brands could look like. All with the help of AI (see how to use DALL-E 2 if you're still wondering how text-to-image generators work).

Some brand collabs are the perfect marriage (Heinz x Absolut was a winner), others can be totally misjudged or feel like just a poor excuse to cash in (Tiffany x Nike, Xbox x OPI, Fortnite X Ralph Lauren). We often speculate about what unlikely combination might come next, and now with AI image generation, we can see what any fanciful combination might look like.

The British creative agency The Clearing has been "playing around with Midjourney" to imagine "the brand mash-ups of our dreams (or fever dreams)," including McDonald’s x Omega, Burberry x Ikea, British Airways x Lego, Skittles x Nando's and Starbucks x Dyson.

Each teaming is stranger than the last, but it's an interesting exercise in the challenges of combining wildly different brand identities, and the logical conclusion of the collab craze of the last few years. It's also another example that shows that if AI image generators are useful for one thing, it's for letting the imagination run wild. The problems sometimes come when those experiments are released into the wild as finished pieces (just see the reaction to Vogue's Bella Hadid AI photos).

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.