Co-branded advertising has a unique set of executional challenges. Advertisers must strike the right balance of attention on each brand while delivering a cohesive message. This is no easy task – yet we are seeing that more companies are using this approach. Below are a few executional tips and considerations when creating this type of advertising.

To start, it is important to decide what role each brand should play. When there is a lead brand, the execution should emphasize the brand’s position by ensuring that the setting of the ad takes place on the lead brand’s turf. Visual and audio brand identifiers should primarily focus viewers’ attention on the lead brand and position it as the protagonist.

The Target ad below features multiple brands that play a supporting role. The main focus is on the retailer, while the other brands illustrate the good deals and variety of products available. Note the use of stark white background with red accents to identify Target’s territory.


In ads that have more than one lead brand, the ad should be set in a place that can accommodate both brands. The brands must seem like collaborators or teammates, and share product focus. The less naturally cohesive brands seem, the more important it is to find the common ground between the brands and play it up. The four Transformers commercials plotted below illustrate this point well. The Transformers + Chevy commercial presents the brands in the least complementary way, while the Transformers + LG Versa commercial is the most successful.


The connection between the products (Transformers and LG Versa) might not be evident at first, but the execution focuses on how the products are connected. In fact, the phone is just as versatile as a Decepticon: it can be a phone, a camera, and a GPS. The commercial positions the role of the phone in a way that Transformers can metaphorically represent it, and the connection works.

Finally, finding the right executional approach for presenting branding visuals can be tricky in co-branded advertising. As a rule of thumb, brand slates should be kept simple. However, the following tips have helped many brands succeed at communicating complex information:

  1. Give each brand a chance to take a bow before shifting attention to the next
  2. Present familiar information before unfamiliar
  3. Present general information before specific information
  4. Consider using visual brand identifiers instead of names that viewers must read
  5. Reinforce branding with audio-visual sync
  6. Use camera zooming to focus viewer attention

For more detail on this topic or information on making the most of your co-branded advertising, contact us at