Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Bad

How Skittles Could Ruin The Party For All Of Us

Social media is supposed to be about providing value. Well, at least that’s what the experts like Chris Brogan, Laura Fitton, and the like will tell you. For the most part I think they’re right. If social media is an offshoot of marketing in general, then all marketing should be about providing value. Zeus Jones calls this “Marketing As a Service.” There’s probably no better example of this in action than Nike+. Nike+ is a product, a site, and most importantly a valuable service. There’s a reason why it’s done so well, and it isn’t the advertising.


Ok, well if it’s all about providing value can someone please explain to me this decision by Skittles and their agency?

The twitter-verse was abuzz tonight, as you can see from this graphic, with Skittles. That’s odd, I thought; why would Skittles be such a popular topic.

Well it looks like the reason so many people are talking about it is that www.skittles.com was “redesigned” to simply pull the twitter search results for the keyword “skittles.”

First, let me say that I think what they’ve done is bold, beautiful, sexy, cool, fun, and ground-breaking, and frankly left me in awe. I wish I was a part of the project.

That said, I have to ask one basic question, “What value does this provide for the Skittles consumer?”

For starters, based on data from Quantcast Twitter.com and Skittles.com have completely different audiences. Twitter skews 18 – 49, with nearly 0 people in the sub-18 category. Contrast that to Skittles.com where the overwhelming majority of people visiting the site are 3 – 17. So, unless Skittles wanted to go after a different audience, which is possible, this decision made 0 sense.  That could be the case.  But, CPG companies rarely make this type of radical audience shift.

Yes, this approach will get people talking. But, I don’t want people talking; I want people buying. Getting people talking didn’t work for the Haggar dog poop ads or the Orville Deadenbacher creative. On the other hand, apparently it’s working for Microsoft. Maybe the investment into Jerry Seinfeld was worth it after all.

Take a look at what people were saying about the decision here. Some of my favorite tweets were:

Cluckee – @adamkmiec does it matter? they are doing it. that’s what matters.

GenaMazzeo – @adamkmiec what does the consumer get out of it? why go through a brand to get something i can already get? thinking its a bad pr stunt

Torchio – @adamkmiec exactly- the whole front page is filled with people talking about the skittles new web design and not about skittles!
Oliyoung – @WarWraith no, i think Mars have been pitched with buzzwords by an ad agency and jumped on board blindly, where’s the value? #skittles

Kerryboberry – skittles?

Time will tell if this was a great idea that catapults Skittles forward or if this was just another example of agency doing work for themselves and the advertising/marketing community.

What I do know is that if this bombs it will scare many brands and companies from investing in social media. That’s unfortunate for me, you, their customers, and those brands. Social media can be powerful and it can do wonders, but when you see things like this it makes you shake your head.

We Operate In The World Of Now – How US Airways Missed The Boat

At approximately 3:03 PM today, US Airways flight 1549, an Airbus A320, made an unexpected and certainly unplanned landing into New York City’s Hudson River. The plane was carrying 155 passengers and crew from LaGuardia Airport in New York to Charlotte, N.C. The plane literally ran into a flock of Canadian geese. The collision was enough to cause the plane to suffer engine failure. The pilot did an amazing job of landing the plane into the river. Amazingly, there were no fatalities and only a few minor injuries.  Keep this fact in mind, it’s really important.  Think about this, NO deaths.  That’s good news.

I first learned of the accident via Twitter, not the news.  I like many people decided to search for more information on the situation.  I was apparently not alone.  As Google Trends shows us, everyone seemed to be interested in the story.

As you can see it occupies the top 9 positions.  This screen grab was taken at roughly 8:45 EST.

With all this attention and interest, you’d think US Airways would want to make sure:

  1. The right information was being delivered
  2. The positive information was being emphasized
  3. They were influencing the conversation
US Airways released an official press release at 5:12 PM EST. Three other releases were issued after the first one.  I applaud their efforts in using offline/traditional channels to communicate with people.  However, I have to take them to task for the horrendous use of the most important channel: online search.  As noted above in the Google Trends graphic, there was an enormous about of interest in the situation.  To support the press release US Airways should have done 2 things:
  1. Setup a landing page/mini site for all information regarding the situation.  The site should have contained their message, their releases, and allowed people to opt-in or subscribe to a RSS feed for future updates.  The mini site would allow for a central location for all things related to the accident.  It would give US Airways a way to manage the conversation and ensure the information doesn’t pollute USAirways.com, where people would be booking flights.  See, you kinda don’t want to mix booking a flight with information about near crashes.
  2. Given all the chatter online and the number of searches they needed to get a paid search campaign up quickly.  I first made mention of this on Twitter around 5:00 PM EST.  Why I first tweeted about the need for paid search, no one had bought any terms.  When I checked again at 8:00 PM EST, US Airways hadn’t purchased any terms, but the lawyers and law firms had.  That’s a big problem.

There’s two things to take away from this image.  One, notice that Google has already started trending and recommending searches affiliated with the accident when you search for “US Airways.”  Specifically, “US Airways Crash” and “US Airways Plane Crash” are being recommended.  We can split hairs on this, but this wasn’t a crash.  The term crash is usually associated with death and destruction.  Remember, there were NO deaths.  The second thing to notice is the first paid search term is for a law firm that’s looking to make some serious money.

Had US Airways moved as quickly online as they had offline, this wouldn’t have been a problem.  But, now when people search for US Airways they’re going to be presented with language, information, and ads that are counter to the story that US Airways wants to communicate.  Simply put, they missed the boat, because they forgot that online we operate in the world of NOW.

3M – Please Don’t Steal From Your Consumers

Just a quick note here.  This guy posted a photo of a car covered in Post-It notes.  It receives a great deal of attention.  3M hears about the photo, checks it out, and want to capitalize on the buzz/momentum.  They contact the original owner about using it in a national promotion.  He says sure, but requests a usage fee.  3M opts not to pay him, then ignores his follow-up communication, and uses a photo that looks nearly identical to the one he took.  The full text from the photo’s author can he read here.  You be the judge.

Original Photo

Original Post-It Car
Original Post-It Car

3M’s Photo


One, you really shouldn’t steal and two, you should never steal from your consumers. What was 3M thinking? Dude, we have this thing called the World Wide Web. It let’s people share and communicate with one another. When you do things that are bad, people will find out and find out quickly.

The insane thing about all of this is I can’t imagine the guy asked for more than 10K. He probably should have asked for more, but didn’t. Are you telling me 3M can’t afford 10K? Sad.

10 Things I Want To Change In Nike+

On the whole, I’ve really enjoyed using Nike+, however it’s not perfect.  So that said, here are 10 things I’d like to see changed, added, edited, etc.

  1. Let other shoe manufacturers into the mix.  This would increase the size of the community tremendously.  If Nike really believes they have the best shoes and are dedicated to continued innovation, they have nothing to be afraid of.
  2. Let me choose how often I’m informed of my pace and mileage.  Having to periodically hit the center button is a pain in the ass and having it only inform me you every .5 mile is adequate, but not perfect.
  3. Stop the crashing and lock ups.  At least once a week the iPod locks up on me when I try to start a run or I pause a run.  Not cool.
  4. Give us settings or options to account for hill workouts and speed workouts.  Nike+ reports things based on your pace.  Well if you are doing a hill workout or a speed workout, your overall pace is skewed.  It’s not uncommon for a speed workout to include running very fast, followed by a cool down.
  5. We need better sharing options.  Their widget is lame.  They don’t offer a Facebook application.  I can’t use a widget in Vista Sidebar or Apple Dashboard.
  6. Provide the ability to manually add runs.  This is really important for 2 reasons.  One, if your run data crashes (this has happened to me) and you can’t sync with NikePlus.com you are screwed.  There is no way to capture that run information.  Two, we need a way to account for situations when you don’t have your Nike+ hardware or the hardware is damaged.
  7. Offer more comparison tools.  I want to see how I stack up against people my age, in my city, etc.
  8. Please for the love of god, simplify the web site and make it run faster.  It’ painfully slow.
  9. Provide alternative syncing options.  This is similar to #5, but is different.  I want to be able to sync my run info with twitter, Facebook status, etc.  When I’m done with my run, I want other people to know it.  This should be a really simple thing to do; just make your run data a feed.
  10. Broaden the apparel line.  The options for clothing that easily let you use your iPod and headphone seamlessly.  Right now, all they really offer is the hatphone.  They should a whole clothing line that focuses on integration of hardware.

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld Microsoft Ad

So the first work from Crispin Porter + Bogusky breaks for Microsoft.

Seems eerily similar to the work done for American Express with Jerry Seinfeld.

Microsoft’s VP of Online Services & Windows Business Group talks about the ads telling a story. Here’s the problem with story telling via TV; the story has to be interesting and told inside of the alloted time in the spot. If this is supposed to be chapter 1 and we are to wait for chapter 2, 3, 4, etc. to be released in the future; we have a problem. Progressive and episodic story telling doesn’t work for TV. It does work online; case in point BMW Films. I really want the campaign to be great. I’m a Windows fan and a Microsoft advocate. However, right now, the McCann work looks a hell of a lot better.