How Brands Are Using Established IPs


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Attracting Attention 

It's the constant challenge among streamers and studios. Who can produce content that drives subscription and viewership? There's a reason why we keep seeing so many series and films that are based off already established intellectual properties (IPs).

These IPs are the shiny objects in the sand that grab people's attention. As streamers and studios release more series and films  based on IPs that have a proven following, brands can also use this to their advantage. In this article, Hollywood Branded pulls back the curtain on how brands are using established IPs to reach consumers.

How Brands Are Using Established IPs

The Benefits 

These days it seems like there's always another movie or series in the trades as being made into a sequel, spin-off, re-made and/or based on an already esteemed book, movie, show, video game, etc.

While the announcements seem to be followed by mixed reactions of excitement and disapproval with a side of some apprehension, they do create intrigue.

Intrigue in this sense leads to views which is exactly what these studios and streamers want. 

Unsure that this tactic works? Forbes reported that "of the top live-action shows, docuseries, and animated series at Netflix so far this year [2024], 30% of the most-watched English-speaking TV shows are based on novels, toys, video games or other existing works" (Whitfill Roeloffs 2024).

Additionally, since the IPs are already have an audience, these productions act as easy topics of discussion in which brands can then use to their advantage and insert themselves into the conversation.

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e.l.f. Cosmetics and mean girls

There are different ways that brands can ride the wave of chatter surrounding a film or series based on an established IP.

One of these is integrating into the film or series which also allows brands the opportunity to emphasize their placement in a film through a co-promotional campaign. 

One brand that did both integration and a co-promotion with an already recognized IP was e.l.f. Cosmetics in Mean Girls (2024).

In the film e.l.f. Cosmetics received two prominent placements, one verbal mention, and some background set decoration placements in Regina George's room. 

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mean Girls

Photo: Paramount | Mean Girls (2024)

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mean GirlsPhoto: Paramount | Mean Girls

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mean GirlsPhoto: Paramount | Mean Girls

e.l.f. Cosmetics in Mean Girls (2024)

Photo: Paramount | Mean Girls | Product Placement Blog

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mean Girls

Photo: Paramount | Mean Girls | Product Placement Blog

Mean Girls e.l.f. CosmeticsPhoto: Paramount | Mean Girls 

For the co-promotional aspect, e.l.f. released the Every Day We Wear Pink Bundle which featured their Jelly Pop Dew Primer with some other limited edition products. 

Mean Girls e.l.f. every day we wear pink bundlenewsletter

Photo: e.l.f Cosmetics | Paramount

As part of the co-promotion e.l.f. also hosted a sweepstakes for their Beauty Squad members to enter to win a trip to the Mean Girls premiere. This sweepstakes was advertised on e.l.f.'s website and socials. 

e.l.f. mean girls sweepstakes

Photo: e.l.f. Cosmetics | Paramount

With a cumulative social following of over 12 million followers, e.l.f. undoubtably has a large loyal consumer base that also made this partnership valuable to Paramount in promoting Mean Girls. 

By partnering with Paramount to use the Mean Girls IP in their advertising and host a sweepstakes, e.l.f. was able to generate brand engagement and increase sign ups among consumer  for their Beauty Squad. 

In this partnership e.l.f. Cosmetics and Paramount were able to combine their capabilities and goal of reaching Gen Z females in a way that was beneficial to both parties. 

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Govee and Dune: Part two

Not all IPs turned into film or shows take place in the real world. Sometimes they can be in a completely fictional and/or animated world.

This doesn't rule brands out in terms of their ability to use the IP to promote their brand. Brands can still capitalize on popular IPs to accomplish their primary objectives. It just takes a little more creativity! 

An example of this is Govee's licensing deal with Warner Bros. Pictures's Dune: Part Two.

From this deal Govee was able to implement core Dune themes and imagery from the film on their website, packaging, and advertising.

Govee Website Dune: Part 2Photo: Govee | Warner Bros. 

Dune: Part 2 Govee WebsitePhoto: Govee

Govee Packaging x Dune: Part 2Photo: Govee


It doesn't stop there! 

In addition to using the eye-catching imagery of Dune: Part Two for their packaging, advertising, and socials, Govee also treated current customers to a special Dune-themed in-app experience.

Govee x Dune_ Part Two In-App Theme

Photo: Govee

Govee x Dune_ Part Two In-App

Photo: Govee

To further enhance customer loyalty, Govee held a contest for Govee owners to enter in and show off their love for their Govee smart lights!

Govee's efforts around Dune: Part Two are certainly note-worthy.

They did a great job increasing brand awareness among potential consumers to drive product purchase while strengthening their brand loyalty among their current consumers. 

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Cheetos and Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

A brand not unfamiliar to co-promotions, to coincide with the release of Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, Cheetos launched a fun re-branded Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire bag of their Cheetos Flamin' Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs. 

Available for purchase in-store, Cheetos also created Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire co-branded displays. 

To generate additional excitement for the film and the Hot Smoky Ghost Pepper Puffs the brand included a QR code on the back of the bags that consumers could scan and enter to win prizes.

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire x Cheetos Back of BagPhoto: Kroger | Cheetos

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Sweepstakes Page

Photo: Cheetos | Sony Pictures

Among those prizes was a trip to the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire premiere or a cash prize of $5,000 which was publicized on Cheetos's website and socials! 

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire x Cheetos Website Promo

Photo: Cheetos

These in-store activations were done to pair with the Cheetos integrations in the film.

One of these moments can be seen at the end of the Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire trailer where the infamous Slimer ghost comes out of hiding after snacking on a copious amount of Cheetos. Note that to highlight exactly what the Slimer's snack of choice was the visual effects team included some orange Cheetos dust around his mouth.

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Trailer x Cheetos

Photo: Sony Pictures | Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Ghostbusters Frozen Empire Trailer x Ghost with Cheetos

Photo: Sony Pictures | Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire

Cheetos partnership with Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire showcases how brands can re-introduce an already existing product in a fresh and exciting way. 

Opportunities in Co-Promotions 

The world of co-promotions in partnering with recognized IPs can hold a multitude of opportunities and reap various rewards.

By reviewing the above ways that brands have incorporated themes of the IP they partnered with and digital assets into their promotions, brands can draw inspiration and find ways that they too can attract attention and drive sales among consumers. 

There's a reason why studios and streamers revive, continue, reformat, and spin-off known IPs. These productions result in high viewership among an already established fanbase of the IP. Brands can use an IP's following to reach and engage target audiences and increasing consumer loyalty. 

Eager To Learn More?

Enjoyed learning about brand's co-promotional campaigns with productions? Take a look at the additional articles below to learn more about how brands can work with shows and movies to expand their reach! 

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