Forming partnerships with well-known personalities serves as surety for companies to reach, influence and drive a specific narrative towards their intended target market. Although these sorts of endorsements are the primal route to marketing products and generate sales, there is still a criteria that organisations adhere to, which ensures a lucrative deal on both ends of the coin.
Some collaborations, however, can prove to be quite fickle and shallow if brands don’t search for those who share similar values with them. It’s more about relied upon clout and who’s currently poppin’.
When companies forge collaboration deals with celebrities, many factors are taken into consideration, such as social assimilation, viability and racial value. (Yep, race can be a determining factor in these corporate streets!) A celebrity’s public positioning yields power in determining whether the alignment of brands with the said organisation would likely take flight or not
For example, one is reminded of when Nike was considering a brand expansion by dipping into the world of golf. However, with this particular sport being elite, not many (black) lovers of the sport would organically gravitate towards it. So, the marketers curated a clever strategy and campaign to partner with legendary golfer Tiger Woods, which would act as bait for new consumers of the innovative golf collection, which includes apparel, golf equipment and accessories. Woods’s presence and association hit the nail on the head and brand diversity skyrocketed.
Back on our local shores, the rules of the game also apply. Here are five significant collaborations within the realm of all things fashion in South Africa.
Nomzamo Mbatha X PUMA
Actress and philanthropist, Nomzamo Mbatha has enjoyed quite a formidable partnership with international sports brand PUMA since 2016. What started off as an endorsement deal ballooned to become an authentic and viable long-standing relationship.
In March 2021, PUMA announced the newly-designed collection by Nomzamo Mbatha called, Shandu. The entire collection is an ode to Mbatha’s family, especially her grandmother, Mildred who is said to have been the driving force behind Nomzamo, teaching her to exude humility and sass.
A dose of her township upbringing has moulded her into the woman she is today. The Shandu collection also pays homage to Nomzamo Mbatha’s birthplace in the township of Kwa Mashu in Kwa Zulu Natal. Clearly success has not dented her sense of self because she’s is still capable of breaking it down humble ‘hood style yet packing with a whole lot of ambition and confidence!
Check out Nomzamo chatting about appearing in Coming to America 2 below.
Fashionistas and consumers alike have expressed just how affordable the entire collection is and it’s been feted since release as super desirable. Prices range between R299 for First Flip and R2499 for a bomber jacket.
Shop the collection here: https://za.puma.com/select/nomzamo.html
Laduma Maxhosa X Tastic Rice
When the rice brand, Tastic sought a partnership with another iconic brand, Maxhosa Africa, many regarded this move as significant and revolutionary. It has now become normal for Tastic to blend its organisation with fashion entities (as it had previously done with another famed local fashion designer David Tlale) and others within the arts realm. This new creative and strategic spin from the brand was simply unheard of at the time.
The Tastic and Maxhosa collaboration saw Laduma Ngxokolo design unique limited edition packs for Tastic. This was in part of celebrating and embracing all things pertaining to heritage and Ubuntu in South Africa. Although this meeting of brands is classified as once-off, one can’t minimise the significance it made in terms of what was possible when it came to forward-thinking collaborations also with a social responsibility angle.
The collaboration carried a message of Ubuntu, which saw both entities committed to endorse R700 000 towards an education fund. The programme rolled out in March 2021.
The Maxhosa brand is not one that thrives on assimilation; instead it’s mostly beloved celebrities who pride themselves in donning at least one clothing item from the label.
Siyabonga Ngwekazi X Jonathan D
The days of associating Jonathan D with elderly figures are gone thanks to the powers that be, who saw the need to formulate a fresh strategy where the younger generation of style enthusiasts are encouraged to consumers of the brand.
Historically, the men who were spotted rocking a Jonathan D thread would likely be a ‘Grootman’ – a term used to describe an older male. What better way to introduce a new style and consumer strategy to the younger masses than enlisting the presence and influence of the ever so fresh, Siyabonga ‘Scoop Makhathini’ Ngwekazi?
Individually, Scoop Makhathini’s thread game has remained on a straight hundred since his entry to the entertainment industry. His fashion sense reminds us of no one but him. Throughout the years, the South African fashion police and enthusiasts have noted Scoop’s unorthodox ways of curating his style. There is simply no one else that compares to the style lord!
The collaboration has been greatly applauded by industry associates and fans alike. Jonathan D scored big with this partnership – previously the younger generation perhaps never knew the brand even existed. Think classic clothing pieces that overlap a bit into the vintage lane. The colours are mostly warm and neutral, so adding a fine touch and feel to the clothes. The pieces ranging from R299 for Jack Slides to the Hi Boat Shoe at R899 are also incredibly affordable.
K.O X Asics
Hip hop juggernaut, Ntokozo Mdluli, also known as, K.O is undoubtedly an aesthetically suitable candidate for sports apparel company, Asics.
Asics is a lifestyle brand that blends a Japanese heritage with urban influences. K.O has enjoyed a cool and lucrative partnership with the team over the years. Asics was relatively unknown by the South African market before and so by forging a partnership with the much-loved hip-hop star, the brand aligned itself perfectly with a new market.
K.O has carried out his ambassador duties with the utmost professionalism. Even in his latest music videos, there are quite a few scenes where he can be seen rocking a pair of classic Asics sneakers. See if you can spot them in the below video.
Prices range between R999 – R2999
Read more about the collaboration and watch below.
Somizi Mhlongo X Bathu
Avid watchers of Somizi Mhlongo’s hit reality television show, Living The Dream might remember when Somizi and Theo Baloyi, who is the founder of popular sneaker brand, Bathu, first linked up for a creative brainstorming session regarding the formation of Somizi’s sneaker edition. Fast forward to 2021, and the much-awaited collaboration has come to be!
The Somizi edition of Bathu consists of four ranges that come in different snazzy colours representing the vibrant and outgoing nature of Somizi. Various posts across social media indicate that the mustard-coloured sneakers seem to be quite the favourite with customers. Prices are about R1800 a pair.