There are predictions the post-pandemic bounce will be fast and fabulous. After a couple of long, lonely years consumers wanting to funnel their excitement at being out and about are ready to reward brands with one much-needed ingredient in their advertising: a sense of humour.

Right now, we all need a laugh and brand partnerships which feel fresh and fun but are grounded in classic principles of engagement, being meaningful to their audience and protecting their brand will soar. It’s time for shopping experiences to be whimsical, with unlikely collaborations that surprise and entertain and make us want to play again.

In December an early entry for coolest, most fun collab for our farewell COVID times came from US brand Super Coffee and Poo-Pourri, the toilet spray champion. The brand teamed up in a partnership hailed as “soulmates who have finally found each other.”

In a satirical 60-second ad the partners announced the “world’s most obvious, overdue” love child: a Super Coffee Vanilla latte x Poo-Pourri Vanilloo Latte Kit.

Jimmy DeCicco, “oldest brother and CEO” at Super Coffee, explained the concept on LinkedIn: 

“Our mom’s morning routine hasn’t changed in over 30 years. She starts her day with a (Super) coffee followed by a trip to the bathroom, followed by a morning run. Why? Because coffee gets you going.”

DeCicco acknowledged what he said was perhaps “embarrassing” for his mother but that it was “true”, which is why the brand had teamed up with the scent specialists, “to make your morning routine better”. The suggestion? Gift the limited edition kit to loved ones “who can’t start their day without coffee and …”

Hot on that partnership came another witty pairing—Peloton and Mr Big—which proved that companies who can send themselves up are beloved by audiences.

Pulled together in just 48 hours after actor Chris Noth’s seismic Mr Big moment in Sex and the City sequel And Just Like That, the spot starred Noth and TK, who played his Peloton instructor Allegra in the show.

The pair is seen relaxing together, with Mr Big’s wife Carrie Bradshaw nowhere in sight. “Shall we take another ride together?” he asks. “Life’s too short not to.” A voiceover from Ryan Reynolds spruiks the cardiovascular benefits of cycling and ends with a lightning fast, “He’s alive.”

While the stationary bike brand and actor have been lauded for responding brilliantly to a globally publicised moment which didn’t end well for either of them, the true collaboration came behind the scenes.

Two years ago, Reynolds’ stellar Maximum Effort agency—think his Aviation Gin ads from 2019—made headlines by making fun of Peloton. The brand rolled with it and in 2021 was even talking to the actor’s team about teaming up.

Then came Mr Big’s shocking moment in the HBO show and Peloton reached out immediately to Maximum Effort to partner with them on something that would assure consumers Peloton was safe, healthy and in on the joke.

“Luckily we have some experience doing this so the rest—over 48 hours—is history,” said Reynolds, who surely can give up his day job and market full time.

In a third December collaboration which wooed with humour, Melbourne’s Cake For Days made a perfect passionfruit sponge version of a jar of Sara Skin’s pink clay mask in a viral video. Viewed over 350,00 times, it gave small business Sara Skin instant free global publicity and Cake For Days a boost to their rep as dessert magicians.

Two heads really are better than one. Especially if they’re fun.

If you want to learn how to identify and negotiate your own partnerships and collaborations check out my signature six week Partnership Mastery program. Our next intake kicks off in the first week of March. Applications are now open. Click here to find out more: