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The Viral Effect on Product Partnerships


We have come to expect a certain level of creativity, excitement and even luxury from product partnerships. They are prevalent in the various sectors of the travel and hospitality industries and even expected in craft brewing, but they have emerged across various marketing verticals in the past decade or so.

Local to New Orleans, restaurants have partnered up for interesting menu items – see Pizza Delicious and Company Burger’s Pizzurger or Blue Oak BBQ and Banana Blossom restaurant’s Thai egg and smoked pork taco. In the tech world, how could you not love the Spotify and Uber partnership, which endured a rocky path, but allowed passengers to create their own playlists for their rideshares?

However, in a global pandemic there will certainly be a marketing shift from exhilarating collaborations that spark intrigue to those that instill confidence in safety and health. As businesses begin to open in a careful manner, one phase at a time, a sense of increased safety and health will lead the new partnership frontier, especially in hospitality, but also in various industries.

Now that coronavirus has rendered all we would normally anticipate useless, what can we expect from product partnerships?

Two that have emerged and are already turning heads are:

Lysol & Hilton

Hotels have taken an especially hard hit from COVID-19 with reduced forms of travel and concerns about shared spaces. In the past, we have seen world-renowned artists designing lobbies and rooms, as well as luxury product lines penetrating the bathroom counters of hotel rooms.

However, in order to combat the uneasy feeling of staying in a room that just hours before housed a perfect stranger or more, Hilton CleanStay with Lysol Protection will launch in June 2020. According to a Hilton press release, “Hilton CleanStay was developed to meet evolving consumer expectations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Research indicates that consumers have heightened concerns regarding hygiene on their journey, and trust in cleanliness standards will be critical to restarting travel.”

Hilton is leaning on Lysol, a product line which many of us still cannot get our hands on almost 3 months into this, to instill confidence in them that a clean, safe experience will be the standard.

Spiffy & Turo

In March, various news reports pinpointed the spread of COVID-19 to ridesharing services due to close contact between drivers and passengers. Spiffy, an on-demand car servicer, saw an opportunity with states beginning to re-open their economies.

In mid-May, Spiffy announced a partnership with Turo, a carsharing service which allows private vehicle owners to rent out their cars, that will allow both the car owner and/or user to disinfect their rides on-demand. Sure, you can travel with any old aerosol disinfectant (if you can find any at the store for that matter), but this partnership brings hospital-grade products approved by the CDC and EPA to you. I would certainly feel more comfortable watching this service take place in front of my own eyes than trusting the car rental company to do it on their own. 

The marketing world is anxious to see what comes next – the Purell Superdome, perhaps?

Ryan Evans is a Managing Supervisor at Bond Moroch.

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