The maker of Skittles, Mars Snackfood, is turning over the brand to consumers. The new website design at skittles.com, designed by Agency.com, 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.