Sarah Morgan

Healthcare Geek.
Professional Communicator.

Taste the Rainbow

So today Twitter is in an uproar because the www.skittles.com website has been redesigned.

Without getting too technical (mainly because I’d probably explain it incorrectly anyway) – it isn’t a standard website anymore. It’s a small but multi-functional pop-up widget laid over a variety of different social media conversations about Skittles on different sites (Twitter, Youtube, etc.)Ad Age has a great article about it.

It’s utter genius. What better way to get word of mouth than to show it? Peer pressure makes the world go round. You see what everyone else is saying about Skittles – makes you start thinking about the brand more, doesn’t it? It might even make you start wanting to talk about it yourself.

@lahne asked me if this would really increase sales. And that’s the age-old PR question. No, it doesn’t increase immediate sales the way a point-of-purchase display or a free sample does. But it makes the brand top-of-mind. How many of us have thought more about Skittles today than we have in years? And that is going to translate into long-term sales.

As the CMO of Y&R said about a similar site design – it’s brilliant. “Not brilliant because it’s based on an amazing piece of technology, design, etc. Brilliant because they had the balls to do it.” And that much ballsier for a consumer product to do it.

Skittles gets that we don’t want branded brochureware anymore. It’s not how we think. Here it is in a nutshell: We don’t care what YOU say about your brand. We care what WE say about it.

Comments

Sarah Morgan

@JeffDM – Vapid, probably, but considering we’re talking about candy marketing, I never expected Shakespeare.

@Laura – I agree that it’s a gimmick, but I love that it’s a gimmick that they had to implement.

I hardly think asking my birthday is “fear-based and controlling” though. I imagine it’s just CYA because they can’t control the PG-ness of the social media content.

As for connecting with their demo, teens aren’t the main Twitter audience, but this doesn’t just port you to Twitter. It’s a variety of the main social sites – Wikipedia, Youtube – and teens are there in force.

You are right about one thing, though – as far as brand engagement goes. Skittles isn’t really conversing with this. However. They’re making it dead clear that they’re listening, and that’s the first step.

@Erin You raise an interesting point – I wonder whether they’re using any standard advertising or promotions tell people about this, or whether they’re relying strictly on the online conversation.

JeffDM

It all sounds pretty vapid to me. Another step towards idiocracy, no thanks.

Laura Bergells

It’s a gimmick. They gained 15 minutes of social media + main stream media publicity from this stunt.

Forcing people to give up personal information before they can view your content? That’s not social. That’s fear-based and controlling.

Stating that you’re doing it to better connect with your core demographic of teenagers? That also rings false: teenagers aren’t on Twitter.

Most of all: there is no brand engagement.

This kind of stuntsmanship is how traditional, centralized, controlling, old-world advertising conceives social media — “let’s grab a buzzword and roll with it. We’ll get kudos for acting like mavericks, while not truly doing anything risky. Instead of interacting with our real audience of teenagers, we’ll pretend to interact with their parents, and we’ll get media attention and buzz!”

Their 15 minutes should be up pretty soon, don’t you think?

Erin

It is kind of genius.

Especially launching this week. It’s enough time that it will get picked up by moms and grandmas before Easter basket buying begins.

It should translate to great sales. Especially if they couple it with some product placements in Target, etc.

(I may miss marketing just a little.)

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