Skittles is turning over the brand to consumers

Image by Special via Flickr

The maker of Skittles, Mars Snackfood, is turning over the brand to consumers. The new website design at, designed by, is linked to social media content as its website content. The site includes wikipedia for product information, twitter comments on the home page as news and “chatter”, YouTube channel for video and Facebook to see Skittle friends.

This is a very innovative idea and I give a lot of credit to the courage of the brand managers at Mars Snackfood. Not many corporations would try something like this and I think this point is lost in the blog and twitter chatter of pros and cons.

More importantly, this is a great experiment on turning the keys over on your brand. I would say that Skittles is a fairly one-dimensional product that makes it easier to experiment than say a company like IBM.

The Bottom Line:

Short-term this is a stunt that has and will continue to get a lot of press, giving a renewed voice to one small brand in a crowded category. Success.

Long-term, less sure how this will play out, but I value the experimentation and courage displayed by the marketing team and agencies. Transparency and control are very sensitive topics for marketers and corporations to address head on and Skittles (a little brand that could) is leading here. The lesson for marketers is to watch, listen, and learn from this live experiment happening before us.

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  1. I agree that it took some chutzpah for Mars Snackfood to try this approach and I will be very curious to see how it plays out and if indeed, it achieved it’s objectives, whatever they were. That said, from a marketing point of view, it doesn’t make sense for a global brand to turn over its home page to a community of strangers, some of whom ended up posting words of hatred using the #Skittles hash tag.

  2. I really do hope that consumers treat the website responsibly. If they do, it could be a really great inspiration for other companies to (at least to some extent) hand over the reigns. When consumers feel personally connected to the brand, they not only strengthen their brand loyalty, but also serve as advocates. It’s really the ideal solution–the message is always authentic, and the costs are so much less for the manufacturing company. Moreover, the open communication assures that the company actually produces what consumers want!

    Unfortunately, it always looks like there’s some joker out there to spoil it for everyone:

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