Panera Bread and T-Pain Team Up for a Merch Collaboration (With an Interactive Twist)
Celebrity fast food collaborations sort of feel like MadLibs now, where you can place any restaurant and artist name in the blanks, and it'll somehow make sense.
If you guessed Panera Bread and autotune deity T-Pain were the next to team up, you're right on the money. Panera enlisted T-Pain for a limited run of merchandise to commemorate its new Chef's Kitchen Sandwiches. Following along with other restaurants that have used a streetwear drop model, Panera also is working with the shopping platform NTWRK for a "Day of Craveable Drops."
— T-Pain (@TPAIN) April 30, 2022
NTWRK also facilitated branded collaborations for Cheetos (with Bad Bunny) and Chipotle. And we've seen other brands play around with a "live" format where merchandise is available only at specific times.
There will be individual pieces available, but possibly the most interesting item is one called the "Deliciously Luxe Drip Kit," which features a crewneck sweatshirt, athletic pants and headphones, all packaged in a branded box and a bag with all-over sandwich print.
.@panerabread has partnered with @TPAIN and @NTWRKLIVE for the release of its new chicken sandwich, featuring The Deliciously Luxe Drip Kit and an exclusive loyalty club for the promotion. via @marketingdive https://t.co/HPyC6AQdx0
— The Cyphers Agency (@CyphersAgency) May 2, 2022
The most "luxe" item, however, is easily the T-Pain x Panera chalice, which is made with 24 karat gold and designed by celebrity jeweler Greg Yuna, according to Adweek. It is literally a chalice:
Enter now for a chance to win the @panerabread x @tpain Gold Chalice in the #UnlimitedSipClub drawing! First 1k people to enter will win a FREE 3-month Unlimited Sip Club subscription! Tune into NTWRK on 4/21 at 6:30pm EST to find out if you won. #partner https://t.co/F12vqZWfCh pic.twitter.com/GTqYYnLWkj
— The FADER (@thefader) April 21, 2022
Basically, if you're a fast food brand and you want to announce a new menu item or promotion, celebrity partnerships are the way to go. But it's no longer as simple as just paying a star to hold a sandwich on a commercial. There need to be co-branded products with direct calls-to-action, ideally with social media interaction. And it had better be interesting.
So, let's guess the next one, shall we?
Shake Shack and Billie Eilish. If we're right, you owe us a Coke.