Facebook and Ray-Ban, 2021
Ray-Ban
Facebook and Ray-Ban, 2021
Ray-Ban

The Odd Couples

Big companies know that one of their most valuable assets is their brand. So it follows that the only thing better than leveraging the power of one big name is joining forces with another — which must explain the dizzying number of brand collaborations we’ve seen in the past several years. These matches made in marketing heaven can make for some bizarre combinations, though. Here are some of the most memorable, including a partnership that we're pretty sure no one asked for between Facebook and an iconic sunglasses brand. 


Related: Companies That Changed American Culture for Better or Worse

Facebook and Ray-Ban, 2021
Ray-Ban

Facebook and Ray-Ban, 2021

Do you remember Google Glass, or perhaps own a pair of Amazon's Echo Frames? We didn't think so. No matter, because Facebook is teaming up with Ray-Ban to give you another shot at owning the smart glasses you never wanted. Buy a pair of the specs, dubbed Ray-Ban Stories, and you can leave your phone in your pocket while you record video, take pictures, make calls, and play music, all by tapping the glasses. To Ray-Ban's credit, these $300-plus smart specs are a lot more stylish than the vaguely Trekkie Google Glass, but they still beg the age-old question: Why?


Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy



JNCO x Goldfish
Maria Jose Govea

Goldfish and JNCO, 2021

Remember those ridiculously voluminous JNCO jeans, a '90s fashion fad from which the world never fully recovered? Well, they're baaaaack, in partnership with ... Pepperidge Farm Goldfish. (Huh?) A new flavor, Jalapeño Popper Goldfish, is out now, and who better to promote it than JNCO? After all, there's room aplenty for all your snacks in those pockets. And yes, you can even nab some limited-edition Goldfish JNCOs for a cool $200.


Related: The Most Unnecessary Flavors From Classic Brands

Marble Slab x Cheetos Flamin' Hot Ice Cream and Shake
Marble Slab

Cheetos and Marble Slab Creamery, 2021

What could be better than a scoop of ice cream mixed with Flamin' Hot Cheetos? Marble Slab thinks the idea is a fun one, at least, and is doing a brand mash-up with PepsiCo, Inc.’s Frito-Lay division to offer a sweet cream ice cream mixed with crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos in a cup, cone or shake. Cheetos Flamin' Hot ice cream and shakes are available in Marble Slab stores through Sept. 30, with a regular size scoop starting at $5.99 and a 20-oz shake starting at $6.99.

Limited Edition Spikeball Dunkin'® Pro Kit
Spikeball

Dunkin' and Spikeball, 2021

The connection between doughnuts and the game of Spikeball isn't entirely clear, beyond the fact that the game is played with a circular net. Nonetheless, the iconic Dunkin' brand has collaborated with Spikeball to create a limited-edition kit including two balls and a net in the pink-and-orange Dunkin' colors for $125. The kit appears to be sold out already after just one day, even though no doughnuts were included in the deal.

Swim Soups by Panera Bread
Panera Bread

Panera Bread and Swimsuits, 2021

Even though this summer is shaping up to be one of the hottest on record, fast casual eatery Panera Bread found that 70% of its customers didn't let steamy temperatures stop them from ordering soup. Thus, a swimwear collection was born. Fans of the restaurant snapped up "broc cheddar" patterned men's and women's swimsuits, a bread bowl pool float, men's "mother bread" swim trunks, and a one-piece bathing suit that simply stated "SOUP" in capital letters. Slow-moving soup fans missed out, however: The collection quickly sold out.

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, 2021
Vanleeuwen

Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Van Leeuwen Ice Cream, 2021

Talk about cheesy. Brooklyn-based ice cream maker Van Leeuwen partnered with Kraft to make this limited-run frozen treat. It went on sale on July 14th — which just happened to be National Macaroni & Cheese Day — on the Van Leeuwen website and at their stores in New York, New Jersey, California, and Texas. 


Related: 21 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Mac and Cheese

Baleciaga-Crocs high-heeled shoe
Baleciaga

Balenciaga and Crocs, 2021

Balenciaga unveiled their spring 2022 collection on June 7, surprising fashionistas everywhere with two Crocs collaborations: stiletto heels and rain boots. The boots look, well, like most rain boots and are available in three colors (green, gray, and black). On the other hand, the stilettos, called Balenciaga Crocs 2.0, look like standard-issue Crocs clogs with a pillar-like heel. They're available in tasteful black (if you can call Crocs tasteful) or very vivid green. Don't expect to see them in Balenciaga boutiques. Experts predict they'll sell out immediately, just as the designer's first such collaboration, an $850 pair of platform clogs, did in 2017.


Related: Dead Fashion Brands We Miss

Hidden Valley x Crocs
Crocs

Crocs and Hidden Valley Ranch, 2021

Hidden Valley Ranch, which has progressed from a mere salad dressing to a seemingly all-purpose condiment, is no longer content to stick to food but is ready to smear itself all over some shoes. The brand has joined forces with Crocs and streetwear brand The Hundreds for ranch shoes that look good enough to eat (possibly). The off-white shoes will have green speckles (for ultimate similarity to ranch dressing) and will come with Crocs' Jibbitz charms in the shapes of chicken nuggets, French fries, veggies, and pizza — all foods that are improved with a dollop of the dressing. The shoes will be available to purchase later in the year, but no release date yet.


Related: 17 Restaurant Chains We Miss

gapHomeAtWalmart
Walmart

Gap and Walmart, 2021

The company that brought you pleated khakis, pocket T-shirts, and more jeans and hoodies than we can count announced in May that they would be introducing their first-ever line of home goods in an exclusive partnership with Walmart. Launched on June 24, some 400 items, including bedding and bedding sets, towels, curtains, and other home goods (think denim throw pillows and blue-hued dinnerware) are available only on Walmart's website.


Related: Things You Should Never Buy at Walmart

Pringles Wendy’s Limited Edition Baconator Chips
Etsy

Wendy's and Pringles, 2021

The spicy, fried chicken sandwich wars just got a little ... weirder. Pringles has announced plans to release Spicy Chicken Sandwich Pringles, a chip flavor using the same spice blend found on the actual sandwich, in stores for a limited time. Even better, each can will come with a code on the seal redeemable for a free chicken sandwich at Wendy's, making it easy to compare the two should you be so inclined. 


This isn't the first time Pringles and Wendy's have worked together. In June 2020 they released a Baconator-flavored Pringle said to capture the burger's beef, cheese, ketchup, mayo, and bacon flavors. 


Related: The Best (and Worst) Fast-Food Spicy Chicken Sandwiches

Pepsi and Peeps
PepsiCo

Pepsi and Peeps, 2021

As if Peeps aren’t polarizing enough as it is, Pepsi partnered with the candy brand to release a Peeps-flavored cola just in time for Easter this year. The compact, candy-colored cans were never available in stores, and were instead sent to lucky fans who entered an online sweepstakes. How’d it taste? “Just like liquid candy,” Delish raved.  


Related: Surprising Facts About Easter Candy

KFC and Lifetime
PRNewsfoto/KFC

KFC and Lifetime, 2020

Imagine this: A hot Colonel Sanders (played by none other than Mario Lopez) seduces a young heiress with his dashing good looks, subtle charm, and, of course, his secret recipe for the world’s tastiest fried chicken. Insane fever dream? Nope, just a “mini movie” dreamed up by KFC and everyone’s favorite guilty-pleasure network, Lifetime. If you missed it, fear not: The entire thing is available to watch on YouTube


Related: The Oreo Doomsday Vault and Other Strange Company Secrets

Ikea and Lego
Ikea

Ikea and Lego, 2020

Considering most Ikeas resemble a giant Lego brick, maybe this one isn’t all that weird? The Swedish furniture giant recently joined with the Danish toy maker to produce a line of Lego-compatible storage boxes with building surfaces integrated into the lids. The line, called Bygglek, is still available online and in Ikea stores.


Related: 25 Ikea Products to Buy — and 25 to Skip

Nike and Ben & Jerry’s
1661, Inc.

Nike and Ben & Jerry’s, 2020

If only “Just do it” meant “dive into a pint of ice cream tonight,” we’d be a lot closer to our fitness goals. Despite the seeming incongruity of their missions, Nike and Ben & Jerry’s collaborated last summer on — wait for it — Chunky Dunky sneakers, with a design inspired by one of Ben & Jerry’s most popular flavors, Chunky Monkey. The shoe even featured a furry faux cow print. They’re still available online for over $1,000 (which would buy a lot of ice cream ... just sayin’).


Related: The Secret Histories of Popular Brands

KFC and Crocs
Yum! Ltd.
levi's Jacquard
LEVI STRAUSS & CO

Google and Levi’s, 2019

Levi’s trucker jackets are one of the most familiar sights in fashion, but you’d never know what’s embedded in some of them: smart “Jacquard” sensors, courtesy of Google. A swipe of the sleeve then lets users get news or calendar updates, get directions, take a photo, play music, or even take calls. They’re still available online for about $100 a pop. 


Related: The History of American Jeans: From Railroad to Runway

Forever 21 and Cheetos
Forever 21
Netflix and Baskin-Robbins
BR IP Holder LLC.

Netflix and Baskin-Robbins, 2019

A couple of years ago, runaway Netflix hit “Stranger Things” was everywhere, including your local Baskin-Robbins. The partnership makes sense only if you’re a fan who knows about Scoops Ahoy, a scoop shop where one of the main characters works. Promos were rolled out chain-wide, but a couple of Baskin-Robbins shops completely transformed into an ice cream parlor from the '80s. There was even a “ship shape” ice-cream truck giving out USS Butterscotch, a limited-time flavor based on the show.


Related: Things We Use All the Time That Didn’t Exist a Decade Ago

Adidas and AriZona Iced Tea
eBay

Adidas and Arizona Iced Tea, 2019

The only thing weirder than designing shoes based on iced tea? Selling them for 99 cents. Adidas and Arizona unveiled their flowery collab with the gimmick that they would cost as much as a can of Arizona. Of course, the pop-up shop proved so popular with sneakerheads dying for $1 kicks that the NYPD had to shut it down. Shoes from a more recent collaboration are still available (and they definitely aren’t 99 cents).


Related: Craziest Marketing Stunts of All Time

Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana
Williams-Sonoma Inc.

Smeg and Dolce & Gabbana, 2018

When it comes to kitchen appliances, function usually comes before form. But when Dolce & Gabbana partnered with Smeg a few years ago, the two brands turned out Sicilian-inspired toasters, juicers, and other appliances that make colorful Kitchen Aid mixers look like child’s play. Williams Sonoma still carries the line, which includes a (gulp) $50,000 refrigerator.  


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Fila and Chupa Chups
FILA KOREA. CO.,LTD.
Taco Bell and Kit Kat
Taco Bell

Taco Bell and Kit Kat, 2017

Taco Bell has never shied away from head-scratching menu items (some of which have turned into major success stories — more on that in a minute). File its collaboration with Kit Kat under, well, “not a major success.” Its Kit Kat quesadilla — er, “chocoladilla,” — was literally just a melted Kit Kat inside a grilled tortilla. Much to the dismay of stoners everywhere, it never appears to have made it past the testing stage in the U.S. 


Related: The Decade’s Craziest Fast Food

Ford and Tinder
The Ford Motor Company

Ford and Tinder, 2017

Imagine hopping on Tinder only to discover that Ford wanted to whisk you away on a blind date. It happened to five couples after the Tinder users swiped right on the “profile” for a yellow Ford Mustang. They were filmed driving around London, awkward small talk and all, before finishing their dates at a drive-in movie. (No word whether the stunt paved the way for any happily-ever-afters.) 


Related: Best Mustangs of All Time 

Gucci x Disney Mickey Mouse Mesh Baseball Hat
eBay
Covergirl Star Wars Limited Edition Lipsticks
Amazon

Covergirl and ‘Star Wars,’ 2015

“I want to look like Yoda,” said no one ever, but that didn’t stop Covergirl from rolling out a “Star Wars” makeup line during the release of “The Force Awakens.” The collection included everything from a shimmery gold and silver lipsticks (think C3PO and Captain Phasma) to mascaras featuring quotes from the movies. 

DHL Shirt
eBay

Vetements and DHL

When Vetements, a luxury fashion brand, sent a canary-yellow DHL logo T-shirt down the runway in Paris in 2015, it raised plenty of eyebrows. Was the Swiss company bringing "anti-fashion back to fashion," as The Guardian speculated, or was it simply playing a joke on the fashion world? Judging by the public’s reaction, it was the former: Not only did the pricey shirts sell quickly, people started buying non-Vetements DHL shirts to strut around in. 

Doritos Cool Ranch Locos Taco
Doritos Cool Ranch Locos Taco by Joe Martinez (CC BY-NC-ND)

Taco Bell and Doritos, 2012

Today, the Doritos Locos Taco has practically reached icon status, but don’t pretend you didn’t scratch your head when you first heard of this mashup of two guilty-pleasure brands. The idea took a surprising amount of work to pull off, though, with teams from Taco Bell and Frito-Lay testing more than 40 recipes over two years and going through untold numbers of shell prototypes in order to get the crunch and seasoning just right.


Related: Fast Food Items With Cult Followings

Window of stylist Missoni in Milan
Manakin/istockphoto

Target and Missoni, 2011

By now, Target collaborating with just about anyone is old news, but in 2011, the concept of a high-low partnership between a big-box retailer and a high-end brand still felt fresh. The 400-piece Missoni for Target was so popular with budget fashionistas that demand crashed Target.com and created a run on stores. (Of course, history repeated itself a few years later with the Target-Lilly Pulitzer debacle.)


Related: Surprisingly Expensive Products at Target

Supreme and Kermit the Frog
eBay

Supreme and Kermit the Frog, 2008

Supreme, a streetwear brand with a major cult following, has collaborated with what seems like just about everyone. But a muppet? Yep, it totally happened, after mysterious photos of Kermie in a Supreme shirt started appearing around New York City. Shirts from the zany partnership still go for hundreds on eBay.