Coco and Pop Team Epic collaborate for ‘epic’ team-up

As spring arrives, brands are trying to create fitting seasonal collaborations for new product launches. Taiwanese tea chain Coco Fresh Tea & Juice teamed up with manga and anime IP Pop Team Epic for a relaunch of the brand’s seasonal Lychee Cherry Blossom drink. With gifts and merch like collectible pins, cards and magnets, along with exclusive cups and paper bags, the collaboration launched on 16 March with specially decorated branches around the country.

Pop Team Epic is a manga series by Japanese artist Bkub Okawa and was popularised by its two seasons of anime adaptation. The manga features two junior high schoolgirls Popuko and Pipimi in an array of mundane and bizarre situations. It is known for its surreal humour and parody/spoof of other works and genres in popular culture. The manga has a cult following around the world, while the well-received anime series propelled the IP into the mainstream. On the video platform Bilibili, the anime was viewed over 100 million times with over 2.55 million likes up to November last year.

Last year YH Tang partnered with the IP for a Halloween collab and it was hugely successful, with reports of revenue between 26 October and 1 November having topped 100 million RMB (13.89 million USD), growing 30% YOY and one branch sold more than 350 cups within 3 hours of opening on the launch date. However, YH Tang is known for its post-modern Gen Z humour, so the demographic of its fans has a great overlap with the followers of the manga and anime. YH Tang also launched a heavy-weight new product, an Oreo drink. It was a three-way collaboration in a way. With Bilibili influencers participating in online and offline events, the co-branding campaign resulted in a quick restock of sold-out merch and added branches in cities around the country.

YH Tang’s merch added its own mascot into the duo and focuses on the surreal comedy of manga and anime. With the IP’s popularity on Bilibili, the influencer campaign also fits the IP and the brand like a glove. Like any co-branding, brand fit always comes first. Coco, as a veteran in the milk tea sector established in 1997, has been trying to touch on the ACG (anime/comic book/games) subculture. With recent collabs with otome game (dating simulators aimed at girls and women) Mr Love: Queen’s Choice and Sanrio, the brand seems to have shaken its rather conventional image.


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