Marvel Shows Us How to Not Do a Merch Collaboration
When a merchandise collaboration is done right, it can be one of the best marketing moves a brand can make. Just ask Forever 21, which launched a collection with Taco Bell that people are still talking about. When we heard the news that Marvel's "Black Panther" franchise would be doing a crossover collection with Tupac, we were pretty excited to see the final product. Now that we've seen the T-shirts, however, we are majorly disappointed.
According to AV Club, one T-shirt was available on Foot Locker, and it was a total letdown. The T-shirt had the Black Panther helmet on the front, and "Tupac" written down the sleeve. That's it—that's the whole T-shirt. The T-shirt has since been removed from Foot Locker, so we're hoping maybe it was some sort of accident.
We admit, this collaboration is a tough one to pull off because the movie doesn't exactly intersect with Tupac's decades-old albums. However, we still thought Marvel would get a little creative with the merchandise.
Who asked for Tupac x Black Panther merch? 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/gzk9lV7WBL
— Carrington Harrison (@cdotharrison) November 12, 2018
What's important to note here is that brands should not do collaborations for collaboration's sake. There needs to be a clear artistic vision that highlights both collaborators, or at least a clear tie. That's where this T-shirt falls flat. To simply mention Tupac's name makes it seem like Marvel is just trying to cash in on the rapper's legacy. It's an insult to Tupac, and it's an insult to "Black Panther."
Variety had a preview of a few other pieces in the collection, and it at least seems like those products tried a little harder. But, everything still seems a little forced. To our promotional apparel distributors, remember when you're working with clients looking to collaborate: dig deeper.