The Brand Mashups We Need to See

Eggo (and Sugarland’s) Brunch in a Jar. Dunkin’ (and Mass. Bay Brewing Co.’s) Spiked Iced Coffee.  Bojangles (and Appalachian Mountain Brewery’s) Hard Sweet Tea. If 2023’s year in (fun) booze has seen anything, it’s beloved non-alc brands – beverage and otherwise — getting into the 21-plus game. 

Apart from Dunkin’, which as a beverage-centric brand logically follows in Hard Mtn. Dew’s, Simply Spiked’s and others’ pioneering footsteps, iconic waffle and QSR brands rolling the dice got us thinking…tongue only half in cheek…what’s next?  

Moreover, rather than the alcohol base provider buried in the fine print, what about full-on mashups, where alcohol and CPG partners share the label real estate (not to mention, the brand risk).

If there’s a recipe, it could be, (1) combine equally iconic brands, one part alcohol, one part CPG; (2) stir well and test for fit, both thematically and gastronomically – does it feel, and taste completely unexpected yet entirely right; (3) cook up line extensions and have them ready to roll if the original hits big.         

That in mind, here’s our wish list:

  • Smirnoff x Slim Jim to create: The Bloody Mary in a (Slim) Can. A natural in 19.2oz cans, a potential c-store (and media) gold mine. Nostalgia. Convenience. Spice(!) This one’s got it all and takes the idea of the boozy brunch to entirely new places. Plus-up: shrink wrap “Special Edition” cans with hollowed-out Slim Jim straws for an even bigger taste…and social media…experience.
  • Sauza Tequila x Doritos to create: The Flaming Hot Rim. Margaritas that go crunch? Kind of, sort of. Like those canned bloodies, this one’s also about big flavors having a playdate, from two brands that are natural dance partners. Better yet, one that can go two ways and hit two aisles, as co-branded, non-alc salt rimmers, and also RTDs infused with Flaming Hot flavor. If it hits, here comes Cool Ranch. Ole!
  • Bacardi Dark x Pillsbury to create: The Cinnamon Rum Roll. Rum has been waiting for its tailwind for a long time. How better to boost it than pairing it with something near and dear to our hearts, not least around the holidays? Think decadent, egg-noggy RTD, canned or bottled, or non-alc, frozen aisle slice and bake, Sweet, indulgent nostalgia, two ways. Touché, Eggo!
  • (Any) Sake x Cup (of) Noodles to create: The Sake Ramen Bomb. While booming, sake still needs a boost with younger LDA Americans. We’ve got it!  Pair it with Cup Noodles (yeah, that’s the actual brand name…look it up). Lean on the iconic cup shape and create a ready-to-drink, all-in-one sake bomb that can be enjoyed at home (remove the sake shot before microwaving then add after heating). Grab some bodega sushi and you’ve got yourself one helluva omakase hack. And not for nothin’, a giftwrapped monologue nugget for the likes of Colbert and Kimmel.

All merry-making aside, we’ll close with a PSA. When mashing up, calibrate your comms carefully. Get ahead of the inevitable critiques about playing with brands that have sub-LDA fans by owning what’s going on and the steps being taken to responsibly market and merchandise CPG collabs. Be proactive, not reactive, and keep the momentum rolling your way.

We’ll leave it to you, Iconic Brands of America, to bring our ideas to life.