For users: there is only one world out there
I finally got to the part that matters most to me - the user, the person, the psychological reason why co-branding appeals to us. Of course, what we've seen before applies now - the uniqueness, the exclusivity, the limitedness, having something that combines the best features of two brands we're fans of.
That's undoubtedly true but I like to think of a deeper, more psychological and ontological reason (WARNING: big words coming).
The reason is that the big brands propose their values, their vision, their way of living, in order to appeal to and involve us, to hook the right target. Of course, each of them has its own.
There's Apple - Think different
There's Nike - Just do it
There's Coca Cola - Always Coca Cola
Each of these brands propose its lifestyle vision, a bit like a watertight compartment. From time to time you're a Nike customer, an Apple user, a Coca-Cola customer, but never all at once.
You live in the red, imaginative and magical world of Coca-Cola. In the dreamy world of Disney. In the fierce and determined one of Under Armour. As if they were different universes.
We live out here. In a unique, multi-faceted world where our personalities change and evolve, and our choices as well. We live in these worlds simultaneously, we are fans of all of these brands at the same time - because there' s something at the core that unites them. Us.
When brands come together and collaborate, we find a bit of uniqueness in them as well. We feel them closer than ever. We finally find our world in theirs - a world where everything is mixed and different (but not opposing) values coexist.
We discover that their world is - for once - similar to ours. We don't have to choose which world to live in or who to be. We can be ourselves. And we like it.