Just what we need, another 'quirky' brand collab. But happily this is one bizarre partnership that really works. Heinz has launched a collaboration with the vodka brand Absolut, and the campaign plays on the strength of both brands' recognition.
Bringing together two such distinctive brands can lead to a messy clash, but the execution of this campaign gets things right and shows that a striking collaboration can still overcome collab-fatigue to make impact. (See the best print adverts for more awesome examples).
Heinz and Absolut are each among the best-known brands in their fields, and both have taken advantage over the years of how easily we recognise their logos and packaging design. Heinz even discovered that AI understands 'ketchup' as Heinz. It might seem hard to marry two so recognisable identities, but the fun campaign does the job (unlike this bizarre Billie Eilish x Amazon collab, which was just plain weird).
Creamy vodka pasta sauce has had a dedicated following for years. Penne Alla Vodka was popular in discos in Italy and the US in the 1980s, and Nigella Lawson brought it into fashion in the UK in her book Feast. Finally, two major brands have caught on and realise there's a product there, albeit only a limited-edition one for now.
To promote the sauce, Wunderman Thompson Spain, the same agency that worked on the launch of Heinz's regular pasta sauces, has created a series of posters that recall the classic Absolut vodka campaigns with their foregrounding of the Absolut vodka bottle and bold all-caps copy, playing on the brand name in a font based on Futura Extra Bold Condensed.
The result is a retro branding design treat that fuses two iconic identities – which are a way more relevant mashup than when Nike met Tiffany & Co earlier this year. Leanne Banks, marketing director at Absolut's owner Pernod Ricard has pointed out that Absolut was always meant to be mixed, and not necessarily only in cocktails.
Sadly, the sauce is only going on sale in the UK, and only at Waitrose. You can pre-order it from the Heinz website or buy it in stores from 12 April. The poster designs are due to appear in London and on social media. Want to know how to emulate this success? Here's how to ensure a successful brand collaboration.