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Lessons from Brand Pros on Amping Up Your Collab Launch

September 30, 2023
Scott Carter
Sneakers / Streetwear Category Lead

Not all launches are created equal (no pun intended…). While many brands might sell out of product, it’s how they do it that has a lasting impact on fan loyalty and lifetime value.

But it’s a challenge. While collaborations take a huge amount of creative and financial resources, many teams are under-resourced when it comes to capitalizing on the launch, and are left trying to hack together a slew of platforms to amplify the drop. It’s labor intensive, and it’s expensive. 

But it doesn’t have to be. 

We can learn from the best. The brand collaborations below reimagined their launches with EQL, going the extra mile to connect with their communities, control the chaos, and harness data-driven strategies for long-term success through the platform. They didn’t just embrace the moment, they maximized it.

Here’s how:

1. Crocs X Lightning McQueen Collaboration

Crocs leaned on EQL to eliminate bots from a high-heat launch and protect brand identity, but found a few hidden benefits as well.

Crocs fans were adamant about another Lightning McQueen drop after Croc’s initial launch of the popular Pixar collab in 2019, when the product sold out within 24 hours. Social channels rang out for another round, this time, inclusive of adult sizes…

So, when Croc’s approached EQL in 2021 about another launch, they already anticipated a high-demand. They needed a solution that could handle the site traffic. And with the Lightning McQueen collaboration being a major hype event, they also wanted to protect fans from bots looking to capitalize on staggering resell markups. 

The launch kicked off in April 2021 and EQL’s platform withstood the heat, leading to a successful launch that put the product into the hands of more real fans, and filtered out bad actors. 

Overall sentiment from the fanbase was positive and in 2022, the fan-first strategy paid off again, with entry numbers tripling and sales increasing. More than half of entrants who lost in 2021 came back in 2022 to try again.

With a smooth launch that beat out the bots, Crocs had met their goal. But it was another unexpected benefit that took them by surprise when they came back for the subsequent launch: EQL was able to provide data to Crocs on customer demand from the previous launch, along with sizing insights to help them nail production. A true win-win-win.

Lesson: Commitment to fair launches through EQL is rewarded by loyalty from fans. 

2. Nike X Tiffany Collaboration

Tiffany & Co. uses EQL for hybrid launch event to create an unforgettable fan experience for their Nike collaboration (while preventing inevitable chaos). 

In the world of legendary sneaker collaborations, the Nike x Tiffany drop no-doubt secured its place. Hype was high, and the surprising collab signaled a new era and appeal to an entirely new generation for the Tiffany brand. 

Tiffany & Co. knew they needed a partner to help build the infrastructure for this monumental launch, which was originally planned to drop at physical Tiffany store locations around New York City. But given the interest and demand, they knew there was a huge potential for the kind of chaos that has plagued other large launches in the city. (Fist fights and looting are not exactly on-brand.)

With the help of EQL, Tiffany & Co. was able to get ahead of the chaos, and create a customer experience that mirrored the refinement and luxury they’re known for.

The launch was moved to a hybrid model, where fans could enter the draw online through EQL, participants could select between in-store or online, and then winners could pick up their product at a curated Tiffany & Co. event at a specified date, time and location— drawing fans into the stores in a fun, safe, and memorable way. 

The event drew praise from the millions of entrants, as well as influencers in the space who were impressed with how the intensely high-heat moment was handled, and how EQL’s ability to do a dual-entry launch made it possible.

Lesson: High-demand drops and onsite experiences can co-exist peacefully and profitably with EQL. 

3. McFarlane at Comic-Con

EQL helped McFarlane create a better in-person fan experience while upweighting their entries at Comic-Con using geotargeting.

McFarlane Toys wanted a memorable experience during their first exhibition at Comic-Con 2023. But with 2-3 hour lines being a norm at the event, they were worried it might turn out to be memorable for the wrong reasons. 

The famous collectibles brand needed a winning strategy to raffle off their DC and Warner Bros statues, and tapped EQL in to help. 

McFarlane and EQL worked on a solution that would allow event-goers to register for the raffle in person, with winners getting their product in the mail after the event. As expected, the link leaked, making the draw available to those outside of the area. However, because EQL was able to upweight those at the event using geo-targeting, Comic-Con attendees still had a higher chance to win. 

It worked like this:

  1. A QR code was scanned by fans at the McFarlane booth
  2. They could decide whether or not they’d like to share their location to take advantage of the upweighting in the raffle (which the large majority did).
  3. Fans who were local got a better shot at winning the raffle, without waiting in line or fighting bots for spots.

The drop was a massive success, partnering on-floor engagement with real-time excitement, and generating positive buzz for McFarlane’s Comic-Con debut. 

Lesson: With EQL, you can show love to locals without the lines.

4. TOMBOGO™ x Saucony Butterfly Collaboration

TOMBOGO was able to leverage data provided by EQL to more than double sales during his Saucony Butterfly Collaboration.

The TOMBOGO x Saucony Butterfly Collaboration is a beautiful example of how data can bridge the gap between fans and creators. Designed with an interchangeable colorway system to amplify self-expression, the one-of-a-kind shoe launch was attracting a lot of attention from fans who wanted to get their hands on (or, feet in) a pair.  

TOMBOGO approached EQL for the launch in August 2022, and when registrations began picking up, EQL was able to provide real-time data that the demand for the product would far outweigh the supply. In response and out of respect for his fans, TOMBOGO more than doubled his inventory for the launch, and still managed a 100% sell-through. 

In fact, he’d planned to sell any remaining shoes at a party he was hosting after the launch, but with none left to be had, was able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the success. Ah, makes our hearts flutter. (Butterfly jokes.)

Lesson: EQL’s data can help you understand demand prior to launch, which can lead to double the success.


In the world of collabs, success goes beyond the launch. These innovative strategies prioritized community, controlled experiences, and used data-driven insights to get more product in the hands of fans. 

With EQL, you can take your next launch to the next level. The examples above are just a small sampling of the innovative features we bring to the table. As a true partner, we hope to work with you in cultivating a launch that’s as unique as your brand. Together, we can make an unforgettable experience for your fans.  

Want to learn more? Get in touch.
Scott Carter
Sneakers / Streetwear Category Lead
Scott Carter is the Sneakers and Streetwear Category Lead at EQL. Before joining EQL in 2022, Scott spent 18 years with Nike NBHD, most recently as the Global Sales/Marketplace Director (Sneakers and Fashion). During his time at Nike, Carter oversaw the global sales and distribution strategy for all collaboration products, as well as commercial relationships with key collaborators and accounts. He also developed the global framework for NBHD account criteria and classification. Scott currently resides in Melbourne, Australia and in his free time, he enjoys playing golf, going for a run and hanging out with his family.

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