Why it takes balls to Skittle

Twitter was true to form yesterday afternoon & evening, with the trending topics and breaking news about the new Skittles social media mashup. Skittles – the small, round, highly coloured confectionary, have gone out on an admirable limb. Finally, a brand who tore up the safe line and did the bravest thing ever – made their home page the Twitter search page. Up comes every single tweet (yes absolutely everything) with Skittles in it. Warts and all, Skittles have put their brand into the hands of the those using social media, particularly Twitter (Home & Chatter), Flickr (Media – pics), YouTube, (Media – video) Facebook (Friends) and Wikipedia (Products).

The web 2.0 social media platform mashup concept first came to prominence when Modernista a US based digital agency used the same concept to build their site, but Agency.com insist this is the first time its been used for a consumer brand.

Twitter search as home page - definition of ballsy

Twitter search as home page – definition of ballsy

So why does it work?

  1. Shows confidence in the strength of the Skittles brand. The social media strategy behind  Skittles site shows confidence in being able to go with the conversation about the product. While I was on Twitter yesterday, the chatter around Skittles wasn’t necessarily positive, but it added to the general momentum of Skittles being talked about and staying in the top 2 or 3 trending topics on Twitter (a bonus really). Lesser brands would be feel buried in negative conversation.
  2. Builds instant credibility for Skittles. Especially with the target market who would appreciate the anti-authoritarian tone of making a corporate site a multimedia multi platform mashup, the conversation and buzz will be huge.
  3. Brand authenticity. Flickr has some photos tagged of games rather than sugary sweets – that’s ok, because again it shows the authenticity of using the platform without the need to meddle with the tags that Flickr users use.
  4. Democratisation. Skittles brings the brand to the people. Rather than building a website or separate social media engagement tool, by using the multi level social media mashup, the brand is brought right into the platform the users are already in.
  5. Transparency. The Skittles home page is  transparently showing what the users are saying about the product, good or bad.  The splash created by the transparency,  the buzz ensures the brand stays at the top of the trends at least for the initial days, if not weeks of launch.
  6. Creates buzz. Skittles being talked about is currency, in both senses of the word, through the immediacy of the conversation, and through the value of generating revenue. Many of those who have been exposed to the Skittles mashup will go and buy product. Job done.