Unlikely Duos

How brands work with contrastive IPs to build their licensing programs.
McKenna Morgan

October 21, 2021


Unusual licensing collaborations are currently dominating the industry. From makeup and fashion to food and beverage, IPs that seemingly have little to no connection to the brands they are partnering with are making waves and selling like hotcakes, 

with collaborations like KFC x Crocs selling out in less than 30 minutes.


Earlier this month, ColourPop Cosmetics announced a collaboration the National Basketball Association. The collection includes an eyeshadow palette, an eyeliner duo, a glitter gel, glitter face stickers and a makeup bag for six different teams: the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks. 

You probably don’t think of the NBA when you think makeup, but the unlikely collaboration has created buzz across the internet via websites like 



Good Morning America

. Colourpop’s initial 

Instagram announcement

 has garnered more than 105,000 likes at the time of this writing. 

Crocs is no stranger to a strange

collab. In addition to their KFC collab, 

Crocs released a collaborative clog with food brand Hidden Valley Ranch

 in September. With promotion help via campaign video and Instagram posts from the rapper Saweetie, it 

sold out quickly after launch

. Saweetie had more collaborations with food brands in the past year, 

including creating a meal with McDonald’s

, which 


 debuted earlier this year also jumped on. These collaborations have proven to be popular, with 

the Travis Scott x McDonald’s collab even causing Quarter Pounder shortages

. The collabs often include an expansion to merchandise, such as the 2020 collab with 

J Balvin


Last week, 

rapper Megan Thee Stallion announced a collaboration with Popeyes

 for a dipping sauce and merchandise line – and that she is a franchise owner. 

The unlikely connection between the IP and the brands is an unusual marketing tactic, but has resulted in plenty of internet buzz, thus resulting in an uptick in sales and full-on sellouts. This trend continues to rise within the licensing industry. It is sure to proliferate the industry even more as consumers demand more and more unique products involving the IP and brands that they love — even if they don’t always match up. 


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