Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Four Celebrity-Driven Brand Campaigns That Are Leading the Revolution of Partnerships

Celebrity-backed campaigns are nothing new to pop culture. For decades, consumers would see their favorite personalities promoting x brand or y restaurant through a simple commercial or billboard or even quick shout out to the media. But as society progresses, the minds of consumers evolve. They no longer believe that x brand or y restaurant is their favorite’s favorite. 

Social media and the widespread content consumption has led to a revolution in terms of how consumers want to see their beloved celebrities interacting with brands they are familiar with. They want something outrageous yet believable, something that is worth writing to their followers about. This is how four brands and their celebrity partners are changing the game of brand partnerships. 

Travis Scott and McDonald’s 

When people around the world think of fast food chains, their minds most likely wander to McDonald’s. The golden arches are an iconic image, symbolizing quick and unmistakable food. Everyone knows the chain by its look, its dishes, and the nostalgia it provides us all. So when McDonald’s announced a partnership with one of the world’s biggest rappers today, Travis Scott, many were confused yet excited. 

While his predecessors have started partnerships with liquor companies and athletic wear, Scott’s campaign with McDonald’s was something the world has seen since basketball superstar had a deal with the company in 1992. For a limited time, McDonald’s offered consumers a meal Scott would proudly enjoy — a medium Sprite, a quarter pounder with bacon, and fries with barbecue sauce — presented to them along with lyrics from one of Scott’s most popular songs “Sicko Mode.” On top of the McDonald’s offerings, Scott also created a line of merchandise that combined his unique Cactus Jack aesthetic with the McDonald’s logo. Since this collaboration, McDonald’s has announced four other musical pairings including BTS. 

Lady Gaga and Oreo

During summer 2020, Lady Gaga released Chromatica: an album that was supposed to be much more than a collection of songs, maybe even a way to transport to an ideal version of the world. But, due to the pandemic, the pop diva could not take the concept of her album to where it was heading originally. And yet, Lady Gaga still found opportunities, even the smallest among them, to give her fans the Chromatica experience she deserved. Then came Oreo… 

In December of last year, Oreo and Lady Gaga announced their collaboration — Chromatica Oreos with pink sandwich cookies and neon green creme filling. On each of the Oreos, a design alluding to Chromatica was stamped, making each treat as exhilarating as the next. The motivation behind the collaboration was to introduce everyone to the way of life in Chromatica, where kindness rules all things. Along with the cookie drop, Oreo also set up a digital scavenger hunt for fans via Twitter where winners won packs signed by Gaga herself. 

Yara Shahidi and Adidas

Adidas has welcomed a number of different celebrity partnerships in the past few years, the most notable among them being Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé’s IVY PARK. The athletic-lifestyle clothing and footwear brand has acted as a blank canvas for some of the most talented creatives to explore another side of their abilities. But the brand’s latest partnership with Yara Shahidi evolves into an opportunity to educate. 

The Adidas Originals x Yara Shahidi collaboration is a two-part footwear and apparel collection through which Shahidi expresses her appreciation for her Iranian and African American heritage. Like her heritage, Shahidi has always viewed fashion as something everyone has to navigate on their own but can appreciate in others, which led to her marrying the two for her Adidas collection. The collaboration includes two vibrant ‘60s inspired tracksuits, one of which features traditional Iranian design. For the lucky few that received this collection earlier, Shahidi included Iranian tea for her fans to enjoy and experience her culture even more.

Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ Donuts

It’s safe to say that Gen-Z is consumed by TikTok. They have elevated TikTok influencers to celebrity status, controlled the music charts, and even set the tone for fashion trends. What is happening in one part of the world will be known by all with the simple post of a TikTok, which makes the promotion of collaborations that much easier for the influencers of the platform. So, it only made sense that Dunkin’ Donuts would partner with one of its more vocal supporters, Charli D’Amelio. 

Last September, Dunkin’ launched The Charli: a cold brew beverage just like Charli would order. Fans and fellow influencers alike fled to their local Dunkin’, using the new beverage as an opportunity to post on TikTok and connect with D’Amelio. The beverage did so well that Dunkin’ decided to release a remix of the drink in March of 2021, along with a merch collab that included a onesie, a sparkle tumblr, a phone case, and even a scrunchie set. What had the consumers of this collab interested in the partnership is the fact that D’Amelio has genuinely loved and preferred Dunkin’ over other coffee chains for years.


Brand partnerships are no longer just about getting the name and the face for promotion. Consumers want interactions between two different pop cultural references. They want to be in awe of a certain company’s move while maintaining respect for the people in the spotlight that they admire.