I like the taste of that rainbow

Skittles’ new Web site, which is not much of a Web site at all in the sense that we are used to thinking about Web sites, is awesome – for lack of a better word. Why? Because it’s different. Remarkable, Seth Godin would say.The news of the site makeover were all the rage in a matter of seconds and it took me a while (clearly, as I am posting this a day after the fact) to find the time to check out what exactly was going on. When I did, I dug it.

TechCrunch commended Skittles for taking a risk and I’m with them. It’s surprising how some brands that have the potential to take these first drastic  social media plunges choose not to do or or to do so half assedly.

Case in point: Jack-in-the-Box, which went through the trouble of killing its spokesperson during an ad on the Superbowl only to bring him back to life sooner rather than later, thus failing to leave the future of the brand in the hands of the public and word-of-mouth for too long. I never thought the site was too remarkable either. Perhaps it was a social media test run? Perhaps it just needed its good ol’ spokersperson back to regain control of the message? I could go on…Not Skittles though. Once you’ve entered your age (good instinct on their part as it will work in their favor when the outraged masses object to their new Web site being unfiltered conversation) there are no banners (save for the one that floats on top to help you navigate) or corporate messages (technically), or slogans or ads (per sé) – what you see is what people are saying about the brand using the hashtag on Twitter Unfiltered, real time conversation.

The products tab takes you to information on the different Skittles flavors, the friends tab takes you to the Skittles Facebook Fan Page, the media tab takes you to pictures on Flickr and videos on YouTube and  the contact tab allows you to contact Skittles directly… as if they weren’t monitoring all of this… ready to jump in as soon as someone calls out their name for help/concerns/praise…The new site has been received with a mix of emotions (I just saw a comment on their YouTube channel that reads “Skittles and MARS suck ass”), but marketers have given them props for the ballsy move.

I think it’s brave of them to do away with their Web site, which is usually where brands’ messages dwell in peace. I also think it’s efficient of them to do away with their Web site in order to not duplicate anyone’s efforts. If your customers are already interacting around your brand on Twitter and Facebook is there really a need to provide them with a one-way, corporate Web site that only requires more oversight on your part?I’m excited to see how this initiative continues to evolve for Skittles as they become pioneers in setting the social media bar for brands way up high.

NOTE: As I’m about to hit the publish button (finally), Skittles changed their home page to the the Skittles Facebook Fan Page. Live and learn.


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