Culinary Co-Brand Crossovers Test Chinese Palates

Co-branding partnerships in China

Karl Lagerfeld’s celebrated collection for H&M in 2004 set a precedent for co-branding partnerships that has become a marketing staple. Red Bull x GoPro, Domino’s x Tinder, Nike x Apple, are just a few of the inspired collaborations to have grabbed headlines and boosted sales. And maybe that’s what Coca-Cola had in mind when it got together with Chinese noodle brand Noob Huang (黄小厨) earlier this month to launch ‘黄小厨 x Sprite‘ – a startling combination of banmian (拌麵) egg noodles and sugary fizzy pop.

According to press, best results can be achieved by adding 15ml of Sprite to Noob Huang noodles and seasoning – which leaves one to ponder what worst results might taste like. Huang Lei, the actor-cum-singer-cum-TV celebrity chef behind Noob Huang claims the dish is positioned as a late-night snack for younger consumers.

If the idea of positioning Sprite-noodles as ‘food’ sounds like enough of a challenge, further surgary noodle combinations have emerged from the back of the internet cupboard to set hearts racing. Looking to top up on E-numbers? How about Fanta noodles? Or for the health-conscious, try OJ noodles. It turns out that bubble tea noodles is already officially a thing.

Back in the daylight, further Chinese co-branding partnerships recently announced include Belgian choclatiers Godiva and White Rabbit, a Shanghai-based corner shop candy brand, and baijiu-flavoured ice cream, created by Chicecream – an up-and-comer on China’s red hot ice cream scene – and Luzhou Laojiao (泸州老窖), a venerable Chinese rice wine distillery from Sichuan.

A new hook-up between Band-Aid and the Forbidden City was also launched earlier this summer to show not all crossovers are food based and require a heart monitor.

John Millichap

Co-founder & creative director, Signal8 Digital Marketing