I’ve been pretty much ripping on the Skittles campaign, leaving very similar (and critical) comments on Creative Traction, Logic + Emotion, and Three Minds. My point of contention was that Skittle are a fast moving consumer good (FMCG), and the way I see it, if you market FMCGs, then your social media campaigns should do three things: (1) drive brick & mortar sales, (2) offer a way to track and measure those sales, and (3) keep consumers socializing with your media long enough that they’re increased expenditures cover the cost of your social media campaign. And I just wasn’t seeing how this campaign was doing it.

Then Dave Fleet pointed out something that I (and no one else seemd to have) considered.

[…] we don’t know their objectives. All of the people ripping into this site are doing so with no clue what Skittles was trying to achieve.

  • Is it a short-term effort to kick-start buzz and discussion online?
  • Is it an attempt to position a 35 year-old brand as youthful?
  • Is it to simply raise awareness of the product?
  • Is it a genuine attempt to embrace social media?

We just don’t know.

That’s when it occurred to me: Skittles is crowd-sourcing their online marketing. Thinks about it: they create discussion that only the digerati are going to be really involved it, and then sit back and watch the intelligence, feedback, opinions, and ideas roll in.

The only thing I can’t figure out is whether they went to their agency and asked them to find out what to do next, or whether their agency just didn’t have a f**king clue, so they devised this, pitched it, and going to put their finding toward having something to bill Skittles for in the second quarter.

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