Dorothy Crenshaw March 4, 2009 | 05:57:54

Skittles Social Makeover Or Trouble In Candyland

What’s up with candy this week?  I was planning to cover the Snickers “Snacklish” outdoor advertising campaign, but two things changed that.  First, it was more difficult than I thought to blog in the Snacklish dialect, and then….Skittles happened.

You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Mars.  For at least 48 hours, everyone was talking about the brand.  For anyone just dropped from (the other) Mars, Skittles replaced its home page with social media feeds from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and others.  In an instant, its online identity was in the hands of The People.

I don’t know that it added lasting brand value, but it sure made for colorful marketing…and was instantly chewed over by the media and digerati.  That is, until the balance tipped, and pranksters began posting obscene comments, jokes, and other tweets that soured the brand on its plan and forced a slight retreat to Facebook.

Nevertheless, I loved the Skittles move.  It’s a bold and creative risk, and one that other brands will likely follow.  But the learning is clear.  A brand must maintain a voice in the social dialogue; otherwise, it risks being swallowed up in a stream of negative or irrelevant commentary.