The finite length of brand tie-ups

With reference to your article on cross-branding (MW May 24), it’s interesting to note that mature markets, global consolidation, and regulatory restrictions are cited as the impetus for companies to work together (the example given is Walkers Heinz Tomato Ketchup flavoured crisps). Is it more to do with the fact that risk-averse marketing managers prefer to take an easy option like this rather than try something innovative? It is questionable which of the two brands will benefit most. Walkers will probably sell lots more crisps and thereby keep its brand fresh and relevant, but you could make a strong argument that the gain to Heinz is solely financial.

Tie-ups are ultimately a finite activity. Using existing brand equity to the maximum makes strategic and commercial sense, but it can’t substitute real innovation. And it’s the Heinzes and Walkers of this world that should be leading the charge.

Chris Cleaver



London WC2

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