Skittles: Now Offering a Social Networking-Flavored Taste of the Rainbow

Yesterday, my boss told me to check out skittles.com, without telling me why. We have a pretty casual environment here @ JB, so I have to admit I assumed the link would take me to something that was a) related to off cuff humor b) barely appropriate for work or c) a mixture of the two. Ever the obedient employee, I keyed in the URL and was immediately… thrown off.

Up pops a box, asking you to enter your age. There is also a disclaimer, saying anything written on pages beyond the skittles site is not under the company’s control. Once you enter your birthday, you are taken to… a Twitter page, full of tweets about the product. A small box with “friends” (it takes you to the Skittles Facebook page) and “media” tabs (links to You Tube and Flickr Skittles pages) remains in the upper left hand corner, hovering over the site you are viewing.

This approach got marketing blogs buzzing yesterday. Urlesque referred to the inventors as “genius,” while most others, such as Wisdump, highlighted the pros and the cons of this viral campaign. Overall consensus? This is a risky move; however, people are talking (and tweeting) – so in this respect, it is a success.

My thoughts on the Skittles social media attack initially lean more toward the “uh, this is risky” side, mainly because when the Twitter page is pulled up, many of the comments are not exactly conducive to the products Skittles sell. (Needless to say, people have heard about the campaign and are one-upping either other on the offensive scale.) True, once the next big thing comes along, all of this hoopla will die down and the tweets can go back to being all about the candy – but will that really happen? How many tweets can there really be about Skittles products, without this campaign behind them?

However, I have to hand it to them: Skittles & Co. took the risk and let people talk about their product without trying to control those comments. They also embraced the social media tools instead of running away from them. How this ends I do not know, but for the time being, people are talking. I think it’s pretty cool Skittles is willing to experiment, and I can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

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