The three questions no one asks whilst sucking off Skittles

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, March 3, 2009, 12:05 AM | comments: 1

So yeah, got turned into a bunch of social media nonsense, with a Twitter search as its home page (filled with male enhancement spam), Flickr photos and Wikipedia pages. Self-appointed pundits are sucking off the "genius" behind this and completely ignoring the fact that it has been done before. More importantly, they're ignoring what I consider the three critical criteria for success.

1) Does it in fact move product?
People who spend all of their time online seem to forget that real-world products require money to be purchased, and that material goods can't get high valuations based on "eye balls." So I ask you, does this Skittles nonsense actually generate sales? My guess is, not likely, but only because curious social media addicts aren't going to all run to the store to buy a bag.

2) Is the company genuinely engaging in a conversation?
Of course they're not. This isn't the Comcast cable guy or Paula at Holiday World. In fact, they're not actually contributing anything. They completely ignore who they want to reach and where those people hang out. They're not building good will or giving people a reason to do anything but spam their "home page" with naughty words.

3) Are they executing in a way that doesn't smell like advertising?
No audience is as fickle as the online audience. It's a silly advertising stunt, and a week from now, no one will care. In fact, it'll be even easier to spam once the excitement dies down. Twelve hours later, The Bachelor, a shitty TV show, has overtaken it in popularity.

Some apologists will undoubtedly say "good try" or whatever, but get real. This took no flash of brilliance or heavy thought process to execute. It took some balls, sure, but does that meet any of the three criteria for success?

Now I have to go spam the site with a link to this post.


Skydiving Jeff, March 3, 2009, 5:30 AM #

Has it been done before? Yes. Is it a game changer? No. Will it go down as the most brilliant ad strategy the world has ever seen? Definitely not. What I'd argue however is that the resulting buzz likely provided a very good return on investment -- and given how little work really had to be done for this, I'm guessing that investment was obnoxiously cheap. Besides, does that three million coke or pepsi commercial make you suddenly want to leap out of your chair and buy umpteen cases?

The buzz will of course die down in a few days. But if during those few days you get enough people at work to pass the vending machine and think "ooh, skittles!", buy a bag, and ideally continue buying them due to habit -- then this campaign will have paid off handsomely. As for any negative impacts to the skittles brand itself... I don't see any, they've always been more or less nontraditional with their efforts.

All this typing has made me hungry for skittles. I think I may even twitter this response!

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