A Shadow Endorsement is a tactic within the House of Brands model where those in the know are aware of connections between specific brands, but those connections are obfuscated in broader marketing and advertising.
Shadow Endorsements are common in hospitality groups and are often driven by word of mouth (and internal communications like loyalty cards and subtle links on websites to other concepts).
We’ve also seen this happen, whether intentionally or by accident, when a brewery releases a completely new product with no connection to its parent brand only to market it on its existing social channels and offer it as a carryout option at the brewery. This is usually more of an oversight than a purposeful move to create a connection between the new brand and other brands in the portfolio.
If done long enough, particularly in the hospitality space, it can make sense to shift more purposefully from a collection of disparate brands to a collection of Endorsed Brands so you can build broader loyalty programs, direct-to-consumer systems, economies of scale, etc.