Brand collabs are everywhere

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Photo by Redd F

Brand collaborations are everywhere these days.

In fashion it is a well worn playbook, from Supreme x Louis Vuitton to Moncler x Pharrell Williams.

The best collabs are incongruous or offbeat enough to make you sit up and take notice.

On paper the tie-up between Britain’s favourite bakery chain Greggs with the high-end department store Fenwick makes no sense at all. But that is precisely why it works.

Since Greggs opened a month-long pop-up shop at Fenwick’s fancy flagship branch on Northumberland Street in Newcastle there have been long queues, full bookings, and endless positive press coverage, with even the New York Times chipping in to sing its praises with the headline “How a Super Affordable Bakery Chain Became a British Culinary Icon.”

And while the two brands usually serve a different clientele, they share a common Geordie heritage, with Fenwick established in Newcastle in 1882 and Greggs founded in the same city in 1939.

After a period of expansion during the early 20th Century, Fenwick now operates just nine branches and has struggled in the face of changing shopping habits.

Greggs, on the other hand, has more outlets than McDonald’s, with over 2,300 across the UK, and many more planned.

And if anything Greggs has thrived during the cost of living crisis as people seek cheap and convenient food on the go. Last year it sold some 130 million sausage rolls.

The collaboration leans into its inherent absurdity, with steak bakes served with dauphinoise potatoes, fine green beans and shaved truffle on fine china with silver cutlery.

You can even ring a little silver bell to request another pasty.

There is a cocktail to wash it all down, too – the ‘Pink Jammy Fizz’ – which takes inspiration from Greggs jam doughnuts, and is topped up with Prosecco.

Kieran McBride, a director at Fenwick, acknowledges the interplay between high and low culture and says that the idea was to “play with the form, infuse a little bit of irony.”

This is of course not the first unusual collaboration by Greggs.

Last year it partnered with Primark and released a limited run of branded clothing as a tongue in cheek parody of the more serious-minded fashion partnerships.

And two years before that Greggs achieved a huge PR win by launching its vegan sausage rolls.

“There are, famously, precisely 96 layers of pastry in the company’s best-selling sausage roll,” says Rory Smith in the New York Times.

“The 97th may well be irony.”

This entry was posted in Brand, Brand Design, Brand Strategy, Brand Trends, Design on by .

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