Is Skittles’ Website Building Their Brand?

Skittles has raised some eyebrows with their latest website redesign.

The new Skittles’ “anti-site“ fully embraces social media, ceding nearly complete control of their web presence to their fans.  The effort, to say the least, has been controversial.  In particular, a decision to include a live twitter feed that streams all mentions of the word “skittles” to the front page of the site.  (Note: The front page rotates daily among the various social media platforms.)

Our office has been buzzing with opinions about the site and we felt we’d share them with you!

Skittles’ latest website has generated a lot of buzz very rapidly. Once the initial buzz wears off, will their campaign have legs? Is it building their brand?

Good Use of Social Media, But Needs A Good Story

I’m impressed by Skittles’ bold embrace of social media – so many brands try too hard to control it or simply ignore it completely. That said, I do wonder about the consumer experience. When your first impression of a brand is their Wikipedia entry, it does not elicit the type of emotional response that keeps consumers engaged with a brand. While traditional advertising still certainly has some lessons to learn from the Digital age, I think Digital advertising is much more powerful when it retains some of that traditional storytelling: namely, a core message that really resonates with consumers.  - Betsy

Leveraging social media channels is a good idea, but it’s not a brand strategy. You’ve got to give consumers a reason to care about you, too. Feels like their target is agency/marketing types — judging from their Twitter feed, we’re the only ones talking about it. - Brian

Needs to Move to the Next Level

While the site may be attracting attention initially, its buzz will subside rather quickly. Unless taken to the next level in the near future, what will keep the consumer engaged? A clever navigation system does not typically create any kind of stickiness for the typical consumer.  Will take it to the next level? Will the site take advantage of social media avenues in unconventional ways? Time will tell. - Augi

The site will build their brand in the short term, but it will be up to them to actively engage their community to make it last. Skittles cannot depend on the social aspect to drive continued interest by itself.  They will need to give a little push. - Omar

Excludes their Target Audience

Skittles’ print and television advertising appeals to kids under age 13, yet they’re unfortunately blocking them from participating on their site with an age verify roadblock.   Instead of engaging those consumers, Skittles has excluded a large demographic who will have to “Taste the Rainbow” elsewhere. - Tracy

Can you say technology for technology’s sake? Feels a lot like Cannes… the only people who really care are those in the industry itself.  It comes across as extremely self-serving (and not on behalf of the brand or consumer). Where’s the content? How about some target-audience focused conversation starters? Participation by a culturally relevant celeb would at least add some intrigue.  Hoping the long-term strategy contains some brilliance we’ve yet to experience – somehow I doubt it. -Rich

What do you think? Is Skittles’ new site brilliant or fatally flawed?  What will it mean for their brand and what implications does it have for the future of digital advertising?  Let us know in the comments!

(Headline Photo credit: Ahandke Photography)