March 4, 2009

The social side of Skittles


Ayelet NoffThe average site for a popular consumer product is:

A. Slick with a high level of “production values.”

B. Made in Flash.

C. About as socially engaging as a log.

Skittles changes all that in one go by essentially giving up on having a site of its own.  If you go to skittles.comyou see a realtime Twitter search for “skittles.”  All that is left from the old corporate branded experience is a small widget-like navigator in the right hand corner.

If you click “videos” it goes to Skittles’ YouTube page, if you click “images” it directs you to a Flickr search, “products” is the Skittles Wikipedia article and clicking “friends” will take you to the Skittles fan page on Facebook. This breaks with the tradition of consumer products with boring mass sites that feel like generic dance clubs — I’m looking at you, Pepsi. Skittles has decided that the best online experience is one created by its own customers.

Predictably, the Twitterati went wild after discovering that any tweet mentioning “skittles” would make it the new Skittles front page and it was inundated with tweets like:

mobob: #skittles is doing a very nifty thing, but i’m still not going to eat them, they always tasted way too much like rocks.

shehulk123: All the skittles talk on twitter today makes me want to go out and taste the rainbow.

brianboyko: @poneal – so… skittles gets people to talk about skittles on twitter by showing people talking about skittles on twitter. I don’t get it.

mpk@obra you are way out of date on today’s fast-moving Internet. That Skittlesthing is *so* six hours ago.

Many have said that Skittles is making a mistake opening itself up to the worst impulses of the Web. They should ask themselves if any other consumer product has managed to get this level of attention online, ever.

So Skittles now defaults to the Wikipedia page for Skittles (yesterday it was their Facebook fan page). It seems to me that they are rotating through their different profiles, either as part of a strategy or just trying to see what achieves better customer interaction. To see the Twitter live search now click “chatter”. But the question remains; when will we see some Digg love?
Ayelet Noff is a partner in and founder and Co-CEO of Blonde 2.0, an award winning digital PR agency with branches in Boston and Tel Aviv. Contact Ayelet via The Blonde 2.0 website , email, or follow her on Twitter and Google Plus.

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2 thoughts on “The social side of Skittles

  1. The Skittles campaign is still on Twitter, you have to click "chatter" on the widget to get to it.

  2. That is the beauty of Social Networking and how we can utilize it's power to reach the world. Skittles and other brands. I see this happening at with musicians getting the youth of the world t listen to what they have to offer. Pretty Clever.