Marketers are never far behind new communication technologies- using them to sell you their stuff. So it is with Social Media, and some campaigns are better than others.

One campaign that has divided opinion as to its effectiveness is the Skittles campaign. Go to the Skittles website, enter your birthdate, and a Skittles homepage doesn’t open up- instead, a portal opens up above the Skittles Facebook fanpage (which currently has 3.5 million fans). Click on Chatter, and you’re directed to a twitter feed of Skittles-mentioning tweets, and click on Videos, and you’re directed to the Skittles YouTube channel. When launched in March 2009, Skittles increased their website traffic by 1332% in one day, and apparently caused Twitter to go down temporarily.

After the launch of the campaign, many commentators thought Skittles had failed with of this type of social media campaign because of the loss of control over the Skittles brand message, and I agree with them. Originally, the portal opened above a twitter search stream that was quickly filled with tweets that were profane, vulgar, or just plain irrelevant as people realised their tweets could be seen by everyone. Things have calmed down since, the tweets are now much more benign. There I am:

I also think Skittles have kind of missed the point of Social Media. With the twitter search stream they haven’t really entered into a conversation with their customers, they’re just repeating what they said. Even their Facebook fanpage doesn’t have much Skittles generated content on it, and look at their terms and conditions: “All of the stuff that fans post on the wall are of their own doing and does not reflect the opinion of Skittles, the Rainbow…” Right then.

Most importantly, are people talking about Skittles because of this new campaign (and eating more Skittles)? Or are they just talking about the campaign itself?

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