If you heard the waves of announcements on the internet, you already know about the excitement around the Tiffany & Co. and Nike collaboration. Unfortunately, the reveal of the Air Force 1 1837 with the “Tiffany Blue” Nike swoosh mark, fell flat for many. This partnership had the potential to build a cross-over market with new consumers. But, it failed to resonate with consumers who were expecting something more from the iconic jewelry company.
Why was this partnership a co-branding and marketing flop?
They had the team, creativity, and budget to make this stick. Despite that, it overlooked the power color nostalgia plays on branding.
In this article, we will explore this color nostalgia fail and analyze the implications of their collaboration from a brand strategy perspective.
Unpacking Color Nostalgia: Why The Tiffany & Co. and Nike Collaboration Failed to Resonate with Consumers
The collaboration between Tiffany & Co. and Nike
The recent collaboration announcement between Tiffany & Co. and Nike sent shockwaves across the internet. This special-edition sneaker, set to release to the market on March 3, 2023, was named Air Force 1 1837 as a nudge to the founding year of Tiffany & Co.
The Air Force 1 1837 features premium black suede with Tiffany Blue® as the iconic Nike swoosh mark, laser-etched co-branded silver plates on the heels, and an archival Tiffany & Co. logo on the tongue. To add appeal to the co-branding, the shoe will include flat laces in Tiffany Blue®, yellow, and white.
We can’t forget about the odd accessories in this collaboration!
Added to the $400 sneaker price, you can purchase co-branded sterling silver accessories, which include: a dubrae, whistle pendant, shoe horn, and shoe brush.
Why color nostalgia failed to resonate with consumers
Color nostalgia connects to feelings, values, and perceptions evoked through historic brand colors. Many consumers had high expectations for a partnership between an iconic jewelry and shoe company. They expected something creative that truly celebrates both brands and symbolized their luxurious heritage.
Tiffany & Co. has established a strong recognition of its Tiffany Blue® hue (Pantone 1837 Blue). The association of this color is so symbolic that they built an iconic connection between the color of the Tiffany Blue® box and the brand’s luxurious essence. This connection is so powerful that women rave about the excitement of opening a Tiffany Blue® box, knowing they will find some luxurious treasure inside.
Here are a couple of the many negative Tweets we found:
so tiffany literally just gave nike their color hex code and called it a day? at least the fendi x tiffany collab had tiffany diamonds and the tiffany silver chains/medallion— sophia (not sophie) (@sophiahliu) January 30, 2023
brands, it’s ok to not do every single collab opp that comes your way https://t.co/hwUzPRlAPl
Tiffany and Nike had like 10 years to dream up a shoe that was close to or better than the “not Tiffany” dunks.. they failed miserably— SweetG AKA unused bootstraps (@SwizzleGizzle) January 30, 2023
Unfortunately, carrying this color nostalgia into this shoe failed to resonate with consumers who wanted something more special, unique, and luxurious. You can’t simply apply a brand color to a co-branded element and hope your message carries through.
The implications of brand colors in partnerships
When two brands collaborate, it is important to consider how their respective colors will be used in the partnership. Color nostalgia can be a powerful tool when used correctly, as it allows both brands to release something that resonates with their consumers.
When it comes to color usage, it is important for both brands to create a balanced visual presentation of the co-branded elements. This allows each brand to maintain its distinctiveness while creating something that fans from both brands appreciate. However, it’s crucial to build a strategy that considers color nostalgia and how that can influence the purchasing decisions of their consumers. It’s not about leveraging a pretty palette. It’s about the symbolism and meaning a color holds.
Tiffany & Co. could have used the Tiffany Blue® hue more creatively and tapped into a whole new market. It could have brought luxurious sportswear that featured the unmistakable Tiffany Blue® on limited-edition apparel. Think Burberry meets Nike. In fact, they could have taken this a step further and created a line that celebrates accomplishments in life that you can wear. Tiffany’s has produced luxurious trophies for the sports industry for over 160 years! Why not develop a line that lets people embrace Nike’s “just do it” and give consumers a way to celebrate what they did?
What to consider when developing co-branded partnerships?
When two brands collaborate, it is essential for them to understand how their respective colors will be used in the partnership. Both brands must create a unified visual presentation of the co-branded elements that allows both to maintain their distinctiveness while creating something fans from both sides will appreciate. But they also need to consider how their brand colors can influence or dissuade consumer behavior. This is why, when co-branding, brands must find synergy and strategy between their unique identities.
Here are some ideas to consider:
- Leverage color nostalgia to evoke feelings and values associated with each brand.
- Create co-branded elements that preserve each brand’s distinctiveness.
- Consider how different colors may influence consumer behavior and purchasing decisions.
- Tap into cultural symbolism and how color influences sales on a global appeal.
- Identify shared goals between two brands outside of traditional business objectives.
The collaboration between Tiffany & Co. and Nike was a missed opportunity to leverage the power of color nostalgia. Although it may have been difficult for both brands to balance their distinctiveness while creating something fans from both sides would appreciate, a strategy could have been developed that considered how different colors can influence consumer behavior and purchasing decisions. Color is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about symbolism, values, emotions, and culture.
When two brands collaborate, they must consider all of these aspects to create an effective partnership that resonates with consumers on an emotional level. By understanding how brand colors work together in partnerships, brands are better equipped to develop partnerships that preserve each brand identity and evoke feelings associated with each one.