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Gotta catch ‘em all at the Van Gogh Museum: Benefits of brand alliances

Publicatiedatum: 01 | 12 | 2023
Deze blog is een van de twee winnaars van de SWOCC x BrandCom blogwedstrijd 2023 (1e editie) in samenwerking met het master keuzevak Brand Communication aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.


In the world of art and pop culture, collaborations often ignite a spark of curiosity and excitement. They merge creativity in a way that captivates both enthusiasts and newcomers alike. One such collaboration has recently surprised the world – the partnership between the iconic Van Gogh Museum and the beloved Pokémon franchise. Initially it may seem like an unlikely collaboration, but there is a unique link bridging the monsters and masterpieces. Collaboration between brands to launch a joint product or service are also known as brand alliances. How is such an alliance evaluated and what are the consequences for the involved brands?


  • The effects of pre-alliance brand equity on brand alliance evaluation.
  • The importance of brand fit and product fit.
  • The impact of brand alliances on the brand equity of the involved partners.


Baolong Ma and three colleagues conducted an experiment involving 260 participants to study the effects of brand alliances on the brand equity of the involved partners. Brand equity reflects the extent to which consumers trust, prefer, and are willing to pay for products or services associated with a specific brand.

For the experimental material two brands from the mobile phone manufacturing industry (A) and two brands from the telecommunications industry (B) were used to create four brand alliances (A x B). The participants answered a questionnaire regarding A and B’s brand equity separately. After 30 minutes they read the stimulus material and finished questions about product fit, brand fit, brand alliance evaluation, and A and B’s brand equity post alliance.


Based on the results pre-alliance brand equity has a positive effect on alliance brand evaluation. The Van Gogh Museum and Pokémon both have good brand equity separately and a good brand alliance is expected.

Next, brand fit, how well the partner brands suit each other, and product fit, how well the joint product or service matches the involved brands, promote favorable on brand alliance evaluation. This is where the Van Gogh Museum and Pokémon collaboration seems more surprising. The brands seemingly do not have anything in common and the art form they produce also seem to differ. However, there is an underlying link with Japanese art and culture which connects both brands.

Moreover, a positive brand alliance evaluation benefits the brand equity of the post- alliance brands. When the Van Gogh Museum and Pokémon brand alliance is evaluated positively by consumers, this in turn will enhance the brand equity of both brands individually. The actual evaluation and the effects on brand equity of the Van Gogh Museum and Pokémon collaboration is still to be continued.

Furthermore, in asymmetric brand alliances where one partner is perceived weaker than the other, the spillover effect of the brand alliance on the weaker brand is stronger compared to the stronger brand.

In conclusion, pre-alliance brand equity, brand fit, and product fit impact how a brand alliance is evaluated. When this evaluation is positive this will in turn benefit the brand equity post alliance. Practitioners should keep brand equity, brand fit, and product fit in mind when considering a brand alliance.


This blog is based on the following research:
Ma, B., Cheng, F., Bu, J., & Jiang, J. (2018). Effects of brand alliance on brand equity. Journal of Contemporary Marketing Science, 1(1), 22-33. You can find the article here.


Ellen Tjiong is a master’s student Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. She is interested in corporate communication and the effects media have on audiences.

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