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.