Rebranding Summoning the Forces of Social Web

By March 04, 2009

Skittles has begun an aggressive social Web marketing strategy. Beginning last week, the Mars Snackfood brand began aggregating all things Skittles to its own Web site , including user created content from the Wikipedia entry on the candy,, and more. Ambitious because of the rather unpredictable nature of user generated content, it remains to be seen whether or not the decision will be problematic. While the Skittles portal claims no responsibility for the material that it collects from other sites in the creation of this campaign, it comes at the price of branding image control.

A navigation widget inhabits the top left corner of the browser window, inviting visitors to "Taste the Rainbow." Nothing new here, that has been the slogan of Skittles for years. But clicking the "Home" and "Friends" buttons point the screen to the Skittles Facebook page, while "Media" shows the company YouTube channel. Possible the most interesting part of the site is shown on the "Chatter" page, which is linked to Twitter.

Twitter, the microblogging service that asks "What are you doing?" invites users to compose a 140-characters or less response. When a popular subject begins picking up speed, Twitter-ers identify it with a hash mark. So in this case, "#skittles" has been showing up every few seconds. Every meme can be tracked this way at the Twitter Web site. In this case, "Chatter" simply shows the tracking page for its own brand word, hash-marked or not.

The move has triggered a type of input-loop, and the page shows a diverse set of reactions. From the more mundane tweets to multiple posts flooding the page with "XXXXXX: #skittles... message #7," not to mention some presumed YouTube commenters waxing eloquent in expletives, the response has been diverse. Of course there are other marketers piggybacking the publicity. All in all, the revamped Skittles Web site showcases Internet relationships in the height of their absurdity.

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