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Skittles’ Social Media Campaign: FTW or Epic Fail?




skittlesYesterday rainbow-colored candy brand, Skittles launched a new web presence that has caused notice by many in the world of marketing and average web-head-geeks a like. The Mars-owned company gave their site a facelift of sorts that has left some in awe and others in shock.

Now when visitors go to skittles.com they don’t see the typical corporate branded site. Instead they get a fresh serving of social media. The home page is essentially an overlay of search.twitter.com displaying results for the term “skittles.” There are several other navigational features that Skittles has added to point users to other social media outlets such as YouTube and Facebook.

Essentially Skittles is attempting to leverage the power of social media to give their web presence a direct connection with their customers, and supply the brand with a steady stream of authentic user created content. Charlene Lin, author and blogger says,

They are controlling content in the most important sense, which is that they’re getting people to talk about and engage with the brand. It’s hard to get people to engage with a candy, but this is generating incredible buzz and PR. This is a big brand pushing the envelope toward what a brand will be in the future.

So, whats my take on this? I feel cheated. That’s right, I am not a Skittles fanboy! Here’s why, yesterday, I was knee deep in work, trying to get a project completed that I have spent the last year working on. While swimming in my pool of “to do” notes, I hear about this amazing new campaign that Skittles just launched. So I put down my work and immediately went to their home page. What did I find? A Twitter search page, with a few links to other sites that I am already familiar with. To sum up how I felt, ask Monica!

But Skittles doesn’t want to hear the thoughts of just one marketing geek. So tell us what you think of this campaign. Maybe Skittles will take note.

  • http://www.stepaheadinc.com Simon

    But what would you rather have?

    Honestly, I think it’s pretty cool. A lot more interesting than the sites for most products. It got people talking (I can’t remember the last time I talked about Skittles!), and it’s, y’know, kind of fun!

    What’s with all the negativity people?

    Simon’s last blog post..Skittles: Innocent Candy or Evil Spammer?

  • http://twitter.com/rmorrison612 Rob

    I agree with Simon. This is guerilla marketing at it’s best. It definitely got the buzz that was intended for the product.

    It is kind of fun in an annoying way… If that’s possible. Got me to look though.

  • http://www.twitter.com/DeirdreReid Deirdre Reid

    Will the candy get lost in all their efforts? The web site is quite a display of social networking sites. Since I’m logged in on Facebook, it is my page that lies behind their fan page. It looks like someone from Skittles is answering wall posts, but some of the discussion board conversations are definitely not G-rated, probably why they have the age sign-in. The twitterstream is interesting — a mix of views, some about the candy, most about the marketing.

    They certainly have the marketing/social media world talking. But what’s their next move? They’ve attracted attention, and brought their brand to my attention, but I’m deep in the marketing/SM world that took notice because of their methods. What about my friends who have Facebook accounts but aren’t on twitter and so haven’t read about all of this. I wonder if they’ll notice. Are they doing this in conjunction with any tv or radio ads? Not tuned in so don’t know.

    I’ll admit, I’ll notice the Skittles now when I’m in line at the store. Still probably won’t buy, but they did get my attention.

  • http://twitter.com/Gregory_Brine Gregory Brine

    I like the idea of using Twitter in this way, but the problem is, for a lot of web users it doesn’t mean a lot yet. Ok, so people are talking which is exactly what social is designed to do, but to your average non-twitter savy internet user, all they’ll see is a bunch of short comments.

    But, I’m not saying ditch it as I’m all for social and we work hard in the social sphere. What I’m saying is look at how it can be made more accessible to the rest.

    Oh, and the overlay tools/info look like a real afterthought. They could have used the twitter API to do something so much better.

  • Joe Hall

    @Deirdre – Exactly! will this effort play out well with mainstream audiences? Will it attract new customers? Good points!

  • Joe Hall

    Gregory: “Oh, and the overlay tools/info look like a real afterthought. They could have used the twitter API to do something so much better.”

    Amen! They could have used the API and done something that was a.) more “their own” b.) more integrated with the other sites they are pointing to.

  • http://www.ranksmart.com Ben Pfeiffer

    Hmmm, hope it works for them but seems a bit like they just wanted to jump on the bandwagon. I am also getting the Skittles wikipedia entry to show up when I visit the site blocking javascript. Also see a bunch of sentences stuffed into a H1 heading tag. Anyone else getting that?

  • http://www.gadgets4nowt.co.uk PS3

    I’ve not seen that Ben, sorry.

  • http://marketsecrets.biz Market Secrets Blogger

    I actually like their html version -which I saw accidentally from using a pc without adobe flash. This is branding at its finest…something we could all learn from!

    Market Secrets Blogger’s last blog post..Using Traffic Exchanges

  • http://www.aperiomarketing.net/blog Matthew Parente

    Well, it appears they may be social media channel surfing. It’s not a twitter interface anymore … it’s a Facebook fan page for Skittles. Some of the buttons are disables, but it’s a real Facebook interface … and it says they have almost 600,000 fans. I’d say that’s a win.

  • S

    lame, annoying but certainly created a certain buzz (though useless). surely didnt make me wanna go buy some skittles. yawn. nor check out the site etc. moved on almost immediately

  • http://www.tlmarketing.net Tom Lindstrom

    It got people talking and that´s really what counts.However, that is not the best way to do social media marketing if that was their intention.

    Tom Lindstrom’s last blog post..How To Increase Your Efficiency With Data Entry Jobs From Home

  • http://www.wayneliew.com Wayne Liew

    I think the campaign is successful because it does get people talking about them BUT non-marketer users might feel odd and ask what’s the point (response from my friend when I told them this). I don’t think changing your company site to your social media profiles is a good idea. Am I at the wrong site? OK, I’m leaving…

    Wayne Liew’s last blog post..Weekly Biz Buzz #2 Word of Mouth Marketing, Social Media Space Monitoring, Niche Domination

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  • Z Goodwin

    The implementation was definitely flawed — as evidenced by the racial slurs that they let slip in — but, overall, this was genius. Genius — and extremely cheap. Best post I’ve read on the whole thing thus far: http://bit.ly/s6EAM

    Another thing they should consider for next time: they didn’t grab relevant Twitter handles before launching. Now, @skittlescandy (www.twitter.com/skittlescandy) belongs to someone who is not a delicious, rainbow-colored candy.

    Zach

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  • http://www.jackleblond.com/skittles Jack Leblond

    They should have been talking too – instead they just acted as a megaphone for the world to say whatever it wanted – even if it had nothing to do with the candy.

    Jack Leblond’s last blog post..Can eating Skittles increase your page views?

  • Nicw

    Interesting concept but is truly piggybacking on someone else’s brand. I didn’t like having to qualify to reach their site and there was no option to opt-out. Hopefully they will remove that feature. My question is will they be able to sustain it?

  • Mandi Jacobs

    I just don’t understand why a company would want to create a website that before you enter you have to enter your birthdate and read a disclaimer that says, ” what you see doesn’t reflect Skittles.” Wouldn’t you want all things on your Web Site to be clean? Correct me if I’m wrong, but Skittles is candy, candy is for kids, so why would they make a site that is inaccessible to children? I guess I’m confused on its tactics. I understand that it is a new idea and it generated a lot of talk, but I feel like the site has little to do with the candy. I feel that they could have a a Twitter application on the site, but not as the whole site because not everyone knows or understands Twitter. The fact that it is highly interactive is a great tool, but I feel like not knowing what people may post is not a safe bet for Mars.