Years from now, people will look back to the day Skittles ditched its flashy site and chose to load the top social websites that talk about it instead.
I can’t even begin to fathom how brilliant a campaign this is (despite being pioneered by Modernista exactly a year before). Maybe it’s not. I don’t know whether it’s so open-minded and fun, it doesn’t even look like a gimmick anymore or it’s just plain lazy to put the Skittles-related Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, and even Wikipedia pages right on Skittles.com.
Why load tweets, photos, or videos if you can just pull them via the the sites’ ever-useful APIs and create a page that’s sprinkled with 100% more colors and candy? (Come on, don’t deprive web designers and developers of their jobs!)
Is it even legal for a company to load another company’s web page to promote itself? (But asking that is like saying Facebook owns whatever you post on its site, and we all know how that turned out.)
Is seeing yourself on Skittles.com enough incentive to build buzz about the product instead of the marketers who will be handsomely rewarded anyway? (A resounding yes if you’re one of those new media douchebags, but let’s get to that in a bit.)
Do these cynical questions even matter if you’re enjoying the experience anyway?
Skittles took a risk. Some other company would have been worried about the possibility of smack and smut polluting the streams.
It’s bound to happen anyway, if this campaign lasts long enough and the new media douchebags pounce on another pure phenomenon taking place. I think that’s what draws people to this experiment. It’s raw, unfiltered, and free from any sinister intentions. (At least to the naked eye.)
Remember when SEO hadn’t been invented? When Wikipedia was an unbiased reference? When Twitter was all about what you are doing right now? When your friends on Facebook didn’t have their own fan pages?
And what about the other side of that purity—the cold, hard, messy truth? Because it’s only a matter of time when Skittles, which is not just sweet, innocent, colorful candy, but also a huge corporation, rakes up some dirt in its dealings.
If there’s one thing to take away from all this is that if you’re a company and dreaming of pulling off something like this, it’s not about you. (Or maybe it is, but can you at least try to make it look like it isn’t?)
Any publicity is good publicity, order will emerge from chaos, and worry less about projecting a reality distortion field, focus more on making your product great, because it will speak for itself.
Originally posted on January 31, 2011 @ 12:21 pm