Driving in style

As Whittaker’s continues to show, co-branding initiatives can work brilliantly when the goals are aligned because both brands have motivation to help each other out. That makes sense when it’s in a similar category. But does it work for cars and clothing? Or is it a branding bridge too far? 

Volvo and Barkers established a partnership in October last year and it was based on “delivering quality and innovative design; two things Barkers has prided itself on since 1972 and attributes Volvo has adhered to since its birth in 1927 when it first began building cars in Sweden”. 

“The opportunity to align two companies both sharing a philosophy of quality, beautiful design, social responsibility and ensuring the best possible customer experience is something Barkers is extremely proud and excited to be a part of, and we look forward to working together with Volvo on growing and innovating together in the future,” it said. 

Its latest clip attempts to combine “Volvo’s Swedish craftsmanship” with “Barkers’ effortless style” by showcasing a few well-dressed chaps heading out for a surf (no word on whether Barkers will follow the lead of Quiksilver and actively mix business with pleasure). Volvo has made good steps to move away from its legacy of being boring and safe by focusing on its design and innovation credentials, so in that sense Barkers, which has also done a good job of upping its cred with some savvy marketing, it’s a pretty good fit (recently Volvo tried to up its cool factor and “celebrate new beginnings” through a collaboration with Swedish electronic music producer Avicci). 

Barkers also indulged in some product placement for its winter 2015 video. And, as it explains: “Just like our suits, Volvo cars are the essence of durability, timelessness, and classic style. The decision to shoot our winter ’15 suiting collection with a classic Volvo P1800 was a no brainer, especially with Volvo’s world record of a 1966 1800S model reaching over 3 million miles – we think you’ll find the mileage in our suiting to be of a similar high standard.” 

For its troubles, Barkers gets its hands on a few Volvo vehicles, as Driven detailed recently in a piece on Barkers’ general manager of marketing and merchandise Paul Biddle that was dotted with mentions of both brands. 

Not to be outdone, Jaguar and Crane Brothers followed suit (tee hee) earlier this year with their own tie up (wokka wokka wokka). 

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