Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why Skittles matters.

Skittles jumped head first into the uncharted world of social media with its new un-website.

What's an un-website you ask? Check out Skittles.com. This is wikibranding in action. Users define and create the brand's message and content. Skittles.com links to Twitter and Facebook to enable folks to tweet and friend the brand.

Why is this important? It's just a candy after all. (A very addictive one at that.) It's important because it represents a bold move by a marketer to defy the category norm and test something different.

Check out Starburst.com and you'll understand the dilemma faced by CPG brands. Why on earth would anyone need to visit starburst.com? And for the five people who do visit it, why on earth would they want to sit through a video on the history of sharing?

Skittles' new un-website has people talking, although it may only be media wonks at this point. But chatter is chatter in this world. The spammers have already hijacked the chatter, proof that it's working! (And for those in the agency world who are all-a-twitter over the fact that this site mimics that from modernista, get your head out of the agency bubble. Modernista does not own this format any more than one can lay claim to owning the idea of using music in a TV spot. This is a creative tactic available to all.)

The real test will be what Skittles does next. What will it learn from the unfiltered chatter? How will it engage and facilitate the next level of engagement? How this will inform the fundamental definition of the brand?

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