Co-branding With Your Competitor?

We’ve seen so many interesting co-branding cases. We’ve also seen some brands including sarcasm to competitors in their campaigns. But can you imagine one day you can actually collaborate with your competitor, launch a co-branding gift box and pull it off?


Hey Tea and Cha Yan Yue Se (茶颜悦色) did that!


Hey Tea is one of the top tea drink brands in China which is famous for its milk tea with cheese flavor toppings. Cha Yan Yue Se is a niche but super popular tea drink brand based in Changsha. It just started to expand to other cities like Wuhan. Although it’s not as big as Hey Tea, it has been well known among Gen Z and has become a must-drink local tea brand if you go to Changsha. Some people even take a-couple-of-hour train to Changsha just to get a cup of tea. Both brands are famous for their branding strategy.


This collaboration provides a co-branding gift box (sold at RMB 69) including a tea cup, sticky notes, key rings and post cards etc. There are 2 versions of limited-edition of gift box and each is for one brand. 600 sets in total are sold out in seconds!


Let’s take a closer look at this co-branding campaign.


1. Turn the accident to an opportunity


3 months ago, Hey Tea did a lucky draw game on Weibo and the system randomly picked a winner named “Waiting for a cup of tea from Cha Yan Yue Se”. This post went viral and got a lot of attention from fans of both Hey Tea and Cha Yan Yue Se. Some users commented “When you find out your love was a mistake (终究是错付了)”, which also became a hot topic on Weibo.

After this “accident”, fans from both brands start to ask for co-branding drinks and products. Both brands actually listened to customers’ needs and made this happen, showing the sincerity and modesty from brands - “Whatever fans want, we will do our best to make it happen”.


2. Combine both brands’ concepts and characteristics in the co-branding products


The limited-edition gift box has 2 verions: Hey Tea version and Cha Yan Yue Se version. Both versions include the humanized figures of both brands drinking tea together - like the old saying “It is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar”. Each version has different design that matches local culture. For example:


Hey Tea’s version: “得闲饮茶,灵感有揸拿” which is Cantonese (Hey Tea is based in Guangdong province)


Cha Yan Yue Se’s version: “远方来客,恰杯茶不” which is in Changsha dialect



(Cha Yan Yue Se version)




(Hey Tea version)


3. Produce tailored content to match different social platforms


To launch this campaign, Hey Tea’s team actually took the train and went to Changsha to meet with Cha Yan Yue Se’s team. Both brands promoted this co-branding campaign on all major social media. In order to adapt to different social platforms, they also prepared different contents.


For example, both brands uploaded a vlog on Bilibili recording the one-day trip of both teams visiting the most famous sights in Changsha. Besides, they also produced a comic series on WeChat to talk about the story. And then launch lucky draw games on Weibo and Xiaohongshu to give out free gift boxes.


Have you ever thought of collaborating with your competitors?

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