Brand collaborations have been a popular concept for several years now, and 2021 brought us some especially confusing but also delicious-sounding examples. The fashion, music and makeup industries certainly cranked out plenty of interesting collabs this past year, but food and beverage companies may've generated the most conversation.
A technicolor chocolate cookie! Spicy soda! Potato-flavored liquor from potatoes! Here's a look back at the 2021 food collabs that got people talking.
Barefoot Oreo Wine
It sounds like it would be sickly sweet until you remember chocolate and red wine actually go well together. Released on Dec. 9 and already sold out, it even comes with Oreo Thins to munch on as you sip. Clearly, this was good timing. How many of your meals this past year consisted of wine and a snack?
Van Leeuwen Kraft Mac and Cheese Ice Cream
This collab seemed to have an especially long news cycle, probably because it ended up being pretty good, despite an initial viral article claiming it is "what greets you at the gates of Hell." It also provided the opportunity to educate people about how Filipino culture embraces cheese ice cream. (I've had it — delicious.)
Arby's French Fry-Flavored Vodka
The fast food giant's foray into alcohol is made by Tattersall Distilling in Minneapolis and comes in two flavors: curly and crinkle cut. If you're thinking, "How could they possibly taste different enough to merit two different vodkas? Am I insane?" I thought that, too! Crinkle cut is flavored with sugar and salt, while curly contains cayenne, paprika, onion and garlic. Sounds good in a Bloody Mary!
Super Coffee and Poo-Pourri
The instant coffee maker and air freshener company called their collaboration kit (containing — you guessed it — coffee and an air freshener) "the most obvious" pairing, but honestly, it's never occurred to me to cover the smell of my coffee poops with something that smells like coffee. It does feel noteworthy, though, that we're at a point in society when brands acknowledge coffee poops.
HipDot Peeps makeup collection
Peeps have always deserved to be bigger than Easter, and in 2021, they surpassed that goal in a big way, almost 70 years after they were first introduced in 1953. The makeup sponges actually look like Peeps, which is a cute touch, and the eyeshadows, a mix of sparkle and matte, have a playful, childish look.
Lady Gaga Oreos
Little Monsters went absolutely nuts over these concoctions, which come in bright pink with a green cream filling. They taste like the original Oreos but match the color scheme of Lady Gaga's album "Chromatica," released in May. The cookies became available a few months earlier, sold out quickly and are still pretty hard to come by. (Unlike tickets to "House of Gucci," yikes.)
Nerds and Dungeons & Dragons
The connection between these two brands seems to be largely rooted in wordplay, while the collaboration is focused on gameplay. Until the end of the month, buy a pack of D&D-branded Nerds and upload your receipt to nerdscandy.com/dnd for access to an exclusive campaign within the game's fantasy world.
Mtn Dew Flamin' Hot
PepsiCo owns the sweet citrus soda brand and Cheetos, so in that sense, it's only logical to combine these two convenience store-staples. In a press release, a marketing spokesperson called the collaboration one of the brand's "most provocative yet," which sounds appealing until you realize that a lot of things that happened this year provoked strong reactions and maybe soda doesn't need to.