Skittles goes all in on Twitter

Skittles Vodka (with instructions on Flickr)

Skittles Vodka (with instructions on Flickr)

In a brilliant publicity move, tonight Skittles made its website home page primarily a Twitter search on “Skittles.” (They overlay a menu that lets you get to other Skittles content, including Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia.)

Even if they take it down quickly, everyone will be talking about it for some time to come.

Like any good publicity stunt, this required rare courage.

I’ve already read several folks putting obscenities together with Skittles (some more creatively than others), or folks just adding the word to any tweet. The conversation will be as much backlash and criticism as anything else. But the point is exactly that people are talking about what Skittles did. And any publicity is good publicity, right? You just can’t buy the kind of media this will generate.

As well, we’ll all learn something in the conversations and fallout. That alone is worth the experiment. Bravo, Skittles.

Update (9:21am Monday):
Skittles is generating so much traffic to to Twitter that users are complaining of timeouts on loading pages (and TweetSuite isn’t yet updating with all the folks who’ve been kind enough to tweet a link to this blog). I’m looking forward to hearing from @abdur, Twitter’s Chief Scientist and creator of search.twitter.com, what he thinks of all this (and whether Skittles gave him a heads up).

@dalelarson on skittles.com

@dalelarson on skittles.com

Update 2 (Monday afternoon):
I liked this post, inspired me to think a bit deeper and comment:
Skittles Goes Modernista! With A Distributed Experience.

So far the only comments I’ve seen out of Twitter about Skittles are:
I am neither… there are both pro and con points” (thanks for getting back to me, Abudur!),
and
Netik’s quick response to @LaughingSquid: “I don’t know what they’re thinking.
Though one might take this status blog entry to mean that Skittles blew a fuse at Twitter’s datacenter: “We experienced a brief data center power failure this morning affecting a small number of servers. Site performance was degraded for 5 minutes.

9 thoughts on “Skittles goes all in on Twitter

  1. I agree that Skittles (or rather Mars, Inc. – the parent company) was brave in the experiment. I commend them for taking the chance to throw in the social media “love”, but the implementation of it was horrendous. As some people may have questioned, why is there a need to input your birthday? Is this an adult site? So the first thing you want to get it market research? That turns people off.But I think that the implementation with Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr are really great and it all seems to tie in with that floating navigation item…but one thing that irks me is that it's always there. It blocks a small portion of the screen and it's impossible to move or hide. It becomes irritating after a while.I think this “new” Skittles website was a “rush job” and hope that someone in the agency is thinking more about proper integration and creative appeal.

  2. Ken: I seriously doubt that market research was an issue at all in asking for age. I've had to deal with the lawyers many times when doing promotions. Minors are a concern they always have, both for appropriateness of content and for COPPA issues (if any data kept). So this single question is probably the thing that made the lawyers comfortable enough (if still kicking and screaming) allowing display of content that Skittles has no control of whatsoever. They were right to expect that some of it wouldn't be suitable for children. Isn't it great that Skittles gets all this free consulting to tell them what their implementation should look like? By just throwing it up quickly and iterating on it based on feedback. Finding out in the trenches what works and what doesn't. No more endless discussions of what's safe and what might go wrong. Doing things Silicon Valley startup style. Just the advice many have been giving brands for years.

  3. Jay:Yeah, <href a=”http://laughingsquid.com/the-new-skittles-website-is-a-twitter-search-for-skittles/”>Laughing Squid mentioned Modernista their Skittles/Twitter post last night. Sounds like they deserve credit for the idea (if that matters to anyone). What do you think of the Logic + Emotion post I commented on in Update 2? More sites will start having a list of social media links on the home page and side bar and maybe clients/brands will finally get more comforable giving up control now that the precedent has been set.

  4. Got here via your post on L&E. Just wanted to say I thin you're dead on, this is a new path for functional microsites. Why maintain directions on your site when you can link to google maps, why post reviews when you can link to Yelp? The only thing a small business owner really needs on their site is unique content aka menu, maybe staff bio (though this could be a facebook link as well), product shots/descriptions, services, etc.

  5. Pingback: Mostly Muppet

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