July 9, 2024

Brand guide: Mastering the art of brand mixology

A five-part guide to partnerships and collaborations designed for ambitious brands across the drinks industry



“The art or skill of mixing drinks brands with other like-minded brands or concepts to form powerful partnerships in a masterful way”

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Brand mixology (noun)

The art or skill of mixing drinks brands with other like-minded brands or concepts to form powerful partnerships in a masterful way

Flavour pairings can make or break a cocktail – and it’s no different with collaborations and the lasting effect they can have on your drinks brand.

A successful pairing could help you to outperform competitors by 168% in revenue growth (Harvard Business Review)

A pairing that fails to hit the mark can leave a sour taste in consumers’ mouths for years. (Pepsi and Kendall Jenner).

This guide will explore the concept of ‘brand mixology’ – from iconic collaborations of the past to the benefits and steps you can take to finding your perfect pairing.

Part 01 – The iconic
Part 02 – The key ingredient
Part 03 – The benefits
Part 04 – The sports world
Part 05 – The recipe

Part 01
Historic examples

Three iconic examples of brand mixology throughout the history of drinks advertising

When it comes to the impact that can be created off the back of a perfect partnership – the sky’s the limit.

Throughout the history of drinks marketing and advertising, we’ve witnessed a series of iconic pairings that stay front of mind – even decades after initial campaigns were launched.

1931: Coke x Christmas

‘Coke changed the colour of Santa’s suit from green to red.’

Not quite true, but the Coca-Cola ‘partnership’ with the entire Christmas season is one of the most powerful and influential examples of collaboration, not just within the drinks industry, but the entire history of advertising.

Coke’s Christmas advertising campaigns began in the 1920s, but it was in 1931 when the brand commissioned illustrator, Haddon Sundblom.

Before this point, Santa had been depicted in a variety of ways (myth buster: including the red suit), but this advertising campaign was responsible for shaping the image of Santa that we recognise today – a warm, friendly, plump man, with a white fluffy beard, dressed in red.

From then on, Coca-Cola, its signature emotion-based marketing strategies, and the brand of Christmas became synonymous with each other. Hitting strength after strength with each Christmas campaign that followed – including the iconic Coca-Cola truck ads (that first hit our screens back in 1995), still signalling, for millions of viewers across the world, the official arrival of the season.

1954: Guinness x world records

Although not a brand on brand partnership, traditional Irish stout beer, Guinness, to this day, is cemented to the concept of world records.

In the early 1950s, MD of Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver attends a shooting party, where he and his hosts argue about the fastest game bird in Europe – but fail to find a reference book that holds the answer.

In 1954, Sir Hugh arrives at the idea for a Guinness promotion based on settling pub arguments and recruits twin journalists Norris and Ross McWhirter to create a book of facts.

In 1954, Managing Director of Guinness Brewery, Sir Hugh Beaver arrives at the idea for a Guinness promotion based on settling pub arguments (photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash)

The first edition of the Guinness Book of Records, as it was originally titled, was published a year later in 1955.

The book created a lasting association between the Guinness brand and the idea of record-breaking achievements, innovation, and excellence, providing Guinness with unparalleled global exposure.

1983: Pepsi x Michael Jackson

In a bid to make Pepsi look young – and Coca-Cola look old – in 1983, Pepsi made Michael Jackson the face of its new Pepsi Generation campaign – a campaign coinciding with the Thriller World Tour. As Billboard writes: “Essentially two kinds of people existed in the 80s: Coke drinkers and Pepsi drinkers. And if you loved Michael Jackson, you had good reason to fall into the latter group.”

Unable to separate the tour, the endorsement, and the licensing – the partnership weaved the spirit of the youth, music, and pop culture into the fabric of the Pepsi brand for years to come.

Part 02 
The key ingredient

The one thing every drinks brand collaboration needs if you want to strike the right chord with your customers

As time goes on, consumers are increasingly more informed, educated, and (rightfully) more vocal on exactly what they expect from brands. And topping the list of expectations for many is authenticity.

– While 71% of consumers enjoy co-branding partnerships (Sprout Social), authenticity plays a huge role in influencing exactly how consumers will actively react.

– 86% of consumers state that authenticity is important to them when deciding whether to support a brand. (Gitnux)

– 70% of consumers reportedly spend more money with brands they deem to be authentic. (Psychology Today)

– 91% of consumers are willing to reward brands for their authenticity both through purchases as well as recommendations. (Gitnux)

And, of course, many consumers are also more than willing to punish brands that lack authenticity – especially when it’s clear that profit has been placed over values.

Fuelled by social media platforms like TikTok, one poor pairing can trigger a tsunami of deadly responses.

So, it’s essential to stay true to the core values of your brand and give your customers what they deserve – authenticity.

Part 03
The benefits

A closer look at three of the benefits of brand mixology

As our drinks brand specialist, David Beattie said during his second Drinks Dialogues interview: “When it comes to brand growth, the benefits of partnerships and collaborations are multifold. From expanded reach and audience; to shared resources and expertise; enhanced brand image and credibility; and boosted sales and revenue. It’s a no-brainer.”

Let’s break that down.

Continuous Senior Client Director and drinks brand specialist, David Beattie

Expanded reach and audience

Collaborating with another business can introduce each brand to the other’s customer base, effectively expanding their reach.

These partnerships can help brands tap into new demographic segments they might not have reached on their own.


Shared resources and expertise

Collaborations can reduce marketing and production costs by sharing resources.

Brands can leverage each other’s expertise – whether it’s in marketing, product development, or distribution.


Enhanced brand image and credibility

Partnering with another reputable brand can enhance your brand’s credibility and image.

In turn, being associated with a well-loved brand can positively impact how consumers perceive your brand too.

The above benefits are three of many. If you'd like to learn more, you can always speak to David directly via

Part 04
The sports world

Exploring the relationship between drinks branding and the world of sport

The synergy between drinks and sports is undeniable.

We’ve seen countless collaborations over the years – Budweiser x FIFA World Cup, Johnnie Walker x Formula One; Stella Artois x Wimbledon, and so on.

Carlsberg x Liverpool FC

Our team at Continuous helped to transform Carlsberg and Liverpool FC’s long-term partnership into a hospitality experience at Anfield Stadium featuring the Liverpool Legends mural hand-painted by Japanese muralist, Dragon76.

Hugely popular with fans, videos documenting the project went viral across fan sites and on Carlsberg’s own channel.

Gatorade x Wrexham AFC

One of our more recent projects, involved co-branding Wrexham AFC’s football stadium, STōK Cae Ras, to celebrate the team’s newly appointed hydration partner, Gatorade.

Targeting high-traffic hot spots at the stadium, Gatorade can expect to feature prominently in series 3 of the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary currently showing on Disney+, featuring the club’s Co-Chairman, actor Ryan Reynolds.

Part 05
The recipe

Six steps, created by our strategists and creatives, to help you master the art of brand mixology

Speaking on brand partnerships, Managing Director of Continuous, Stephen Ardern, writes: “There’s no secret to finding the perfect brand pairing, but – like with most things in life – clarity, careful consideration, and planning can help to increase your chances of success.”

Using our combined experience, our team sat down at the studio to give you the recipe to a perfect pairing – six key steps to master the art of brand mixology as an ambitious drinks brand in 2024/2025.

Continuous Managing Director, Stephen Ardern

Step 01 🥂

Identify what you hope to achieve through the partnership and who your target audience is. This will help you choose a partner that aligns with your goals and has a similar target audience – even if they’re in a different industry.

Step 02 🍸

With your objectives in mind, consider brands that share common interests. It could be an audience type, a territory, similar values, shared cultural moments, or a complementary brand image.

Step 03 🍷

Review factors such as target audience overlap, product or service compatibility, and brand image alignment.

Step 04 🍺

Look for opportunities to create a mutually beneficial relationship to help both brands achieve their goals.

Step 05 🍾

Develop a detailed plan that outlines the partnership’s goals, target audience, messaging, and marketing strategy. Ensure that both brands are fully committed to the partnership and clearly understand their roles and responsibilities.

Step 06 🍹

After the partnership is launched, monitor and evaluate its success regularly. Track key metrics such as brand awareness, engagement, and sales to determine the impact of the partnership on both brands.

To get a taste of our drinks projects click here or to speak to our drinks branding specialist, David Beattie, email


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