The Skittles social media bomb went off this week, when the candy maker swapped its home page for its social media presence on various platforms. I’m not going to debate whether it was original or a rip-off, whether it was gimmicky or brave, smarter minds than I have already expounded on those topics.
No, I simply want to tip my hat at Skittles' new business strategy targeting creative and marketing people who work in big and small agencies. Yes, amid all the hoopla, I believe Skittles smartly developed and brilliantly executed a plan to grow its business through candy and junk food dependent marketers, designers, programmers and their ilk.
Face it; every agency has some snack strategy to keep its worker bees working harder and more productively. Most have bowls of candy throughout the workspace, they reward overtime with pizza and more than a few have beers or kegs on tap. When these aren’t enough, agencies sprinkle vending machines throughout the office.
Skittles made a play to be the snack of choice for those of us in the creative and marketing world, and they did a great job. Whether the rest of the country noticed or not, we marketers did notice, and we Tweeted, Blogged, Facebooked and chatted like never before. General Motors approached bankruptcy and the stock market dived to scary depths but all we had on our minds was Skittles social media play.
Watching the power and the fury on Twitter this week reminded me of my own Skittles story at my former agency. We always had some snack on hand: gumballs that were hard as rock and may have been up to five years old, Hershey’s kisses, and Jolly Ranchers, among others. We all snacked on them, occasionally. Then our admin had a stroke of brilliance and started buying bags and bags of Skittles at Costco.
The first batch disappeared in 3 days. The second batch disappeared in 2 days. We ate more Skittles over the first two weeks than all the other candy combined over two months! I admit I was one of the worst culprits. Chomping down Skittles (and chewing up the in-sides of my mouth) I developed more Web strategies, online marketing plans and RFP responses than ever before.
And then it stopped. The big boss was willing to spring for candy, just as long as we didn’t eat too much of it. Things went back to normal, and the gumballs came back.
This is what I think Skittles is up to this week. As we follow trendsetter David Armano on Twitter describing his own Sour Skittles consumption, can the rest of the industry be far behind? Watch for sales results around Madison Ave, Chicago, S.F, Boston, Portland, Austin and other creative mega-centers for March.
As for the rest of the population, Skittles still has more work to do. Like actually engaging with people and providing a direction for the noise they create, rather than just watching the noise happen.
In the mean time, we should expect to see some amazing marketing ideas and creative campaigns over the next several months as our Skittle highs kick in.