In 2008 a chance encounter between executives from Cirque de Soleil and Reebok led to a collaborative project in which the two organizations were able to overcome major liabilities.
Reebok was seeking to consolidate its position in the womens’ sports apparel market. The company had obtained information on gym use, which indicated that women were bored in exercise rooms—a problem which it sought to address.
To meet this challenge, Reebok defined exercise circuits for which Cirque du Soleil contributed choreography, inspiration, music and backgrounds. The result was Jukari, a new line of exercise accessories inspired by Cirque du Soleil shows. The product has been distributed at gyms around the world, which has provided the Canadian entertainment company with exposure to otherwise inaccessible markets.
In 2011 Cirque du Soleil established an alliance with the Spanish fashion firm Desigual. After Desigual’s first contact with the Circus, which it perceived as a novel visual and creative environment, the firm designed a new collection of garments based on the characters and costumes of Corteo, the Canadian company’s latest spectacle. The collection is sold in Desigual shops as well as at Cirque du Soleil shows.
Marie-Josée Lamy, Cirque de Soleil’s Senior Director of Merchandising & Licensing and an active participant in both collaborations, highlights four critical elements to their success: have a good understanding of the potential partner and their strong points; learn from them and ensure that each party handles the work that they know best; establish a clear objective from the beginning and continually evaluate the results; and ensure that the end client perceives the collaboration as providing added value, rather than as a mere business transaction.