72andSunny's latest work for Activision is also its latest work for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's. That's no weird coincidence. In fact, that's the goal of the agency's Brand Partnership Incubator, a new practice that "initiates, develops and executes brand partnerships," according to Matt Jarvis, chief strategy officer and partner at 72andSunny in Los Angeles.
The agency is working to bring brands together, find ways they might intersect and produce creative that benefits both.
"At the core of each project is strategy and creative," said Jarvis. "We have to understand where the brands' needs intersect and then craft ideas that are win-wins. We've done it enough to know it works, and it speaks to what every brand is looking for. Partnerships create news for the brand, open new ways to connect with an audience, and can be really efficient when partners pool resources."
The Carl's Jr. and Hardee's partnership with Activision, for instance, yielded a 45-second spot featuring model Charlotte McKinney. The ad promotes products for both brands (the Tex Mex Bacon Thickburger for Carl's Jr. and Hardee's and Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops III). Content across both brands' digital and social channels is also part of the deal.
The success of brand partnerships created by the agency—Google and Target, Samsung and Jay Z, K-Swiss and HBO's Eastbound and Down—inspired the incubator. According to the agency, the partnerships extend reach and increase market share for each of the brands involved.
"We drive an exploration where we look for overlapping strategic interests between brands," said Jarvis. "From that intersection, we build some platforms that advance all the parties and use those to drive the conversation forward so that a relationship can be formed. That execution component is really crucial, because without it, conversations can get on a circular loop pretty quickly."
The new practice is agencywide—all of 72andSunny's offices are involved. Brands pay a flat connection fee to participate.
"The Brand Partnership Incubator allows brands to borrow from the other to do something they couldn't afford to do on their own, all with greater reach and a bigger overall impact," said Jarvis. "The right partnership puts brands in cultural conversations outside of their category and gets an audience to lean forward and engage in ways that a single-brand effort cannot."