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March 03, 2009
This week, the Mars candy brand Skittles changed its website to be a Twitter search for the keyword "skittles." [Today the site is a front for its Facebook page.]
A good number of people on Twitter went nuts for Skittles, adding the name to their tweets so as to appear on the site, which became a streaming platform for drive-by comments (a good many of them R- and X-rated). Reactions on blogs were mixed. Mainstream media got all screaming-teenage-girl for it.
He and I disagreed about the value of the campaign, which I saw as a stunt, so I invited him to chat about it, videocamera to videocamera!
One of my key points is that Jelly Belly, a candy competitor, does a much better job at creating long-term loyalty through content and humanizing the brand, especially with factory tours and a rich, content-filled website. One look at visitor data to the two sites and it's easy to see how well Jelly Belly's strategy works.
UPDATE: Like a car wreck that has been cleared up, rubbernecking web visitors have moved on from Skittles.com. Traffic back down to pre-stunt levels.
Other blogs that reference Skittles' Twittermania:
Video Fail - When I click play, a note comes up saying "This is a private video. If you have been sent this video, please make sure to accept the senders friend request.
Thanks for the heads up Dave. I had forgotten to make the video public on YouTube. It is now fixed.
I have to admit that I do not see the long term positive effects of this campaign. I think it is a good idea to grab some quick attention, but do not see how it will or could lead to more customer loyalty or increased sales in anyway.
Why are you talking about this as a campaign? Just askin'
This image explains it best...
Robert -- That pie chart sums it up pretty well.
I give them props for trying but at the end of the day it was skittles. Just a really odd product to be doing this with. Whats the demo? 12-54? Whats the demo for all of the social nets they used? Very odd... as I've said all along, someone had to be the one to try it... and now we know. Lets see who tries something like this next.
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.
I really enjoyed this analysis of the Skittles stunt (which, in the long term, is what I think this will amount to). Especially Armano's take on one of the less thought of ripples of its splash: that Mars marketing execs will get TONS of FREE research and understanding of social media and their brand.
My personal issue with the way it was done is that they didn't think far enough through it. Twitter's API is incredibly accessible and easy-to-work-with. So why didn't they pull those tweets into a branded site, sort them by category, respond to them, and give something back to the tweeter? Then maybe—just maybe—they'd also have a way to build on the buzz.
A spot-on take on this "experiment"
As I often say to my clients, there's no point in embracing web 2.0 / social media if you haven't properly executed Web 1.0. Jelly Belly clearly has some sane and grounded people running the show who, shockingly, pay attention to making money while delivering a positive customer experience.
Two things come to mind about agency.com:
1. They've already managed to jump the shark on social media!
2. As others have pointed out in their comments, it was a very crude use of Twitter, revealing that Agency.com doesn't really fully understand how to use Twitter.
It was a whole lot of fun doing the podcast with you! Thought you brought up a lot of good points!
PS, the Skittles homepage is now Wikipedia. Tomorrow it will be something else. Taste the rainbow! LOL.
Seriously, thanks again.