Business - Written by on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 11:18 - 8 Comments

Skittles moves their homepage to Twitter: Crazy? Genius? Both?

(2pm note:  see update at the bottom of this blog)

Just the other day, Skittles made a bold experiment:  they moved their Skittles.com homepage to a Twitter search page (see it here).  The new homepage is the same Twitter page you would view if your were to search for “Skittles” under Twitter search.  The only added features from the company are two pop ups – one that asks for your birthdate before you can see the site, and one on the top left that redirects you to Skittles information (as would be available on a typical company website).

The outcome?  It’s 10 a.m. right now, and on average, 10 people per minute are including “Skittles” in their Twitter feed, many of them just writing in in gratuitously to get their name at the top of the page.  Tweets like this one are common:  DaveMcCue: look Ma, I’m on the Skittles homepage! 

There’s also some like this:  spedteacher: Please RT: @andrewwarner wants to take over Skittles page. He’s lending $1 on Kiva for each retweet of this message–till midnight.

This is a great experiment, and there’s obviously lots of marketing benefits (even if it is just a one-time novelty), as well as potential downfalls.

Pros:  – Lots of people on Twitter now talking about Skittles, and all of their followers now see the word “Skittles” popping up.  The novelty factor encourages conversation as well (notice that I’m blogging about it).  Great way to get people talking about your brand, at no financial cost.  This morning, the Wall Street Journal posted their own blog on the subject

Cons:  – No company control over the dialogue could be a problem.  For instance, someone could tweet a derogatory comment next to the word “Skittles”, which would then show up at the top of skittles.com.  Atleast one website has already been launched to encourage this (I’m not going to link it myself, but if you’re really interested you can find it through the WSJ blog).  I should note that they do have one safeguard; you have to type in your birthdate before you can visit the site (must be over 18).

Overall, I don’t think this particular experiment represents a future trend for marketing, atleast not in its current form.  Skittles, in the long term, shouldn’t look to restrict their site to adults-only.   Still, it’s a great novelty, and it likely points towards a future where savvy brands will find innovative ways to use Twitter as a customer engagement tool.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  Is this a smart campaign?  Or, will it blow up in their face?  Should other companies take on similar endeavours?

skittles

(2:00 pm update:  Instead of Twitter, Skittles has changed this so that they now redirect to a Skittles facebook page.  I assume this was pre-planned.  I wonder what they have in store for us next?  What are your thoughts on this?)



8 Comments

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guillermo
Mar 3, 2009 13:08

Twitter? I just checked and it looked like Facebook

BWilde
Mar 3, 2009 14:00

Do you really mean Facebook or twitter because it looks like the links you have posted above all redirect to Facebook?

Alex Marshall
Mar 3, 2009 14:08

Oh wow – Breaking news I guess.
At the time that I posted, it was on Twitter. It looks as if they’ve now moved it to Facebook.

Must have happened within the last few hours.

The story just gets more and more interesting!

Naumi Haque
Mar 3, 2009 14:09

In fact, as someone just tweeted a minute ago, Skittles switched from Twitter to Facebook. Skittles Twitter page here:
http://www.skittles.com/chatter.htm

The Twitter crowd offers two possibilities:

acfou: @lizapost: skittles already changes homepage to facebook — it is a planned rotation, they racked up tweets yesterday; racking up fans today

gus23: RT @mashable Bad Jokes Force Skittles To Dump Twitter For Facebook
http://ping.fm/RvgC5

Matthew
Mar 3, 2009 14:19

It’s definitely the former – a planned rotation. First it was Wikipedia (Thursday), then Twitter (yesterday), today’s it’s Facebook. In any case you can still go to the Twitter page by clicking on chatter on the overlay box. If they were really worried, they’d take that down too. Confirmed by Mars PR.

Nick Chhan
Mar 3, 2009 22:09

Indeed very interesting to see this being played out.

Catherine Thorn
Apr 16, 2009 7:37

Placing the Skittles homepage on these popular web 2.0 sites was a risky move for Skittles, but I think it has and will likely improve their brand image overall. As a product that positions itself as being fun, colourful, and tasty, Skittles is well-suited to such an innovative and slightly strange experiment. People seem to greatly enjoy being on the Skittles homepage, giving them a good feeling about the brand. In addition, moving the homepage not only caused people to talk about Skittles, which created a buzz around the brand, but it also allowed Skittles to see and analyze what people are saying about them. This information is invaluable. As consumers are continually given more choice and demand more, understanding what they like about Skittles and what they would like to see Skittles develop in future products is a great advantage.

Although there is definitely a concern about the lack of control that Skittles has concerning any negative content that is posted, I believe that the message explaining that Skittles does not control the content on the website is sufficient to ensure most people will not pay particular attention to negative content. In addition, if negative content is posted, it is likely that another person, with the opposite opinion, will post a response.

Although I believe this experiment is a great idea, I think that it should be just that: an experiment. The Skittles homepage is currently on Twitter, but I believe that it should be returned soon to its own page. The buzz has been created, Skittles has learned what consumers are saying about the brand, and Skittles has benefited. When the novelty wears off, people will lose interest in mentioning Skittles or posting on the Skittles page, and it will reflect poorly on Skittles if they leave their homepage attached to a web 2.0 site that has little recent activity.

Wikinomics» Blog Archive » Social network analysis: Cool tools from a couple of cool dudes
Jul 18, 2009 22:53

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