Skittles is one of my favorite candies. I love opening up a fresh pack, finding one of each color and squishing them together to make a rainbow. It just makes me happy.
I’ve been eating Skittles my whole life and I’ve been on a computer my whole life, and yet never in a million years would it occur to me to go to the Skittles website.
Why? Because the Skittles website does not enhance the Skittles experience.
I don’t need a website to find Skittles in a store — they’re in every deli, magazine shop and bodega in NYC. I don’t need a website to tell me how to use Skittles — they’re pretty, they’re sweet, and they very obviously belong in my mouth. I don’t need a website to convince me that Skittles are good for me — they’re not, and I don’t particularly care.
The Skittles website is not for the Skittles “user”. It always has been, and always will be, a corporate obligation. A piece of marketing collateral. It has a very small user base: Skittles executives, marketing departments at competitive brands, and graphic design students looking for inspiration. Its objective is to demonstrate professionalism, modernity, and whimsy. It is simply not meant for the consumer.
Everyone was up in arms yesterday so I thought I should share my perspective on the situation. What happened? Skittles decided to pretty much scrap their website and do a social media experiment: just display the results of “skittles” in Twitter Search with a small branding and page navigation layer in the top left. On the one hand it’s ridiculous — it makes no logical sense for Skittles to so tightly tie their brand to any social networking site, *least* of all Twitter which has a considerably higher age demographic and white collar, professional user base. On the other hand it’s pure genius — the most connected and vocal group on the web can’t stop talking about Skittles! The site cost next to nothing to build and they are getting totally free but incredibly valuable word-of-mouth marketing out of it, plus they’ve positioned themselves as leaders in the space. Given their target audience, it’s a home run.
When I went to Skittles.com yesterday, my jaw dropped. The fact that they redirect to a page full of what people are saying about them — the good and the bad — shows a lot of chutzpah. It shows a willingness to take a big risk with an unprecedented action. I’m guessing it won’t be up for long (it pretty much killed Twitter’s servers yesterday) , but it’ll certainly be talked about for years to come, and will likely be considered the moment when Twitter tipped.
Media page (YouTube)
Still, ask a kid in a candy store about the new Skittles website, or his dad buying him the candy, and they’ll think you’re nuts.
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