Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

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Skittles new website is NOT social media…or is it?

March 3, 2009

 

The new Skittles.com site

The new Skittles.com site

 

 

The M&M Mars colorful fruit candy chews have gotten a social media makeover to their website. It is drawing many oohs and aahs from the crowds that click over to this site to find a very slick transparent overlay with a navigation widget that is laid on top of their social media sites, including a www.summize.com  page keyword searching “skittles” (Seen in the photo).

 

You can also click over to the other platforms where they have accounts as well – Flickr, YouTube, and Facebook.  There is also a quick insert your age here survey (where they are apparently gathering demographic info).  It has gotten many of the so-called social media gurus all up in a tizzy though, as it is a very slick implementation of technology, without an apparent “social media strategy” attached to it.

So, what’s the deal?  Who’s right? Well, to be honest, it’s a lot of both.

Let’s talk about what they did right:

1.       The advertising & PR garnered from the word of mouth from incorporating their social media platform accounts is off the charts as far as ROI is concerned.  The cost of such a website as this, by rough estimates, could be pulled together for 5 to 30K (incredibly cheaper than the cost for the media buys they would have had to have done, and not gotten the benefit of so much traffic).

2.       The SEO benefit is again off the charts successful for the ROI and benefit.  The amount of mentions online they are receiving as well as the back-linking happening from those of us that are posting on blogs, writing stories, tweeting, etc. about their new site.

3.       Ability to track – not having access to their analytics, so not knowing for sure, but there is the potential for incredible results from tracking clicks. Even more potent than the collecting of age information (which I’ll get into later).

4.       Word of mouth and instigation of online conversations – the level of buzz generated, and word of mouth have quickly spread this virally to an internet sensation.  The opportunities to allow for their audience to discuss, socialize, and talk about their brand (glowingly or otherwise) is also incredibly done.

5.       Trusted in their brand enough to release control of it to the world.  It took guts, and I’m guessing some people are still sweating it to allow people to wreak havoc by saying whatever they want and attaching the word “skittles” to it (my personal favorite was one that said Skittles are actually unicorn poop!).  Watch for a potential removal of the overlay to the www.summize.com page with the live stream soon (my prediction).

Now here’s where they failed, or missed the mark:

1.       Failure to participate in the conversation.  Yes Skittles fostered conversation about their product and brand, but as many others have already pointed out, neither Skittles, nor M & M Mars is participating in the conversations on Twitter.  They do not own or manage the @skittles or @skittlescandy accounts.  When you are not participating in the conversation, you have zero chance to impact it.  What if the conversation is skewing negatively or there are legitimate complaints being made (and not just the graffiti-like profanity tweeted out just so they could see it on Summize)? You as the business have no control, say, or opportunity to provide customer service on these platforms.  Comcast with their @comcastcares account on Twitter, is an example of how to do this right.

2.       Capturing the wrong data.  It might be interesting to see what the age group of the people coming to the Skittles site is.  The problem is, that the visitor to the site does not necessarily equate to a consumer of the candy.  The data they have collected seems to be fairly diluted, especially with the amount of marketers and online gurus that have been checking it out, without ever intending to purchase the candy. 

3.       As a professional at a PR/Marketing agency that has worked with several candy clients, it has become crystal clear (to me), that candy is typically an impulse buy and not something that is purchased online, as there is a lag time for shipping, etc. Skittles would have been better served to offer a downloadable coupon for a free package of the candy redeemable from their local store, where the opportunity to purchase an additional bag or two, could occur. Personally, (and this is my big idea) I would have partnered with the braintrust that runs Twitter and came out with a collector’s edition package of Twittles! (I want credit for this, and a free case or two) there would be a run on the stores by the Twitterati.

4.       Trusting an Ad Agency/Web Design firm without actual experience in conducting social media campaigns with a social media campaign.  It is clear by the misses, that their firm (agency.com) came at this with the old-school traditional advertising mentality where this was a cool broadcast out to the world. The fact they failed to get the company to engage with their audience.  While it is always good to want to engage in social media, make sure you are dealing with someone that has already built and executed campaigns.  There are too many “social media experts” shilling themselves today, that are foisting about the buzzwords without any experience to back it up.

5.       Failure to monitor the conversations about their brand online. I don’t know this for sure, but I will deduce that if they aren’t interested in participating in the conversations, that they really aren’t interested in monitoring what is being said as well.  This also goes to managing your online reputation, where if you aren’t watching what people are saying, you have no true measure of your brand’s performance.  The conversations are happening, will you be a part of it?

So now I open it up to you.  What are your thoughts on Skittles new website?  Is it social media – or NOT? Comment away…

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Blogs. Borrrrrrinnggggg.

June 30, 2008

Yep. That’s how a 20+ year veteran of the advertising and creative industry ended a 500+ word rant on his corporate blog, about how he “hates blogs” and decries them as a “self-aggrandizing fad”.  Wasn’t the internet, and television once called a “fad”? He equates those that read, follow, and comment on other blogs as “new-media groupies.”  He just doesn’t get it.  It’s a shame really.  It is another case of a creative talent, responsible for the promotion, innovation, and differentiation of the brands that his clients entrust him with, who can’t adapt to the future.

 

I know Advertising is all about the interruption approach, and has been forever.  TV commercials, radio spots, full-page glossies in magazines, and billboards – all mediums going through a whirlwind paradigm shift which will reshape and recreate the media field at the speed of light.  These methods don’t work and customers “get it”.  Sadly, some agency owners do not. 

 

The customer realizes that they have the power.  They can Tivo out your commercials, block your pop-ups, and block out all of your attempts to push your catchy jingle or edgy catch phrase.  They realize that your four-color glossy ad is in that magazine specifically because you paid to place it there.  Oh, and please do me a favor, and stop trying to disguise your paid ad as an advertorial!  That’s just insulting our intelligence.

 

They want to be engaged in a discussion rather than pitched to.  So what would be a first step down that path?  How about engaging your potential customers in a conversation?  How about you open up your pitch, your claims of “new” and “improved”, to the feedback and comments of your audience?  Could your product and brand survive that?  If it truly is what is says it is – then it will survive.  Otherwise it could be trashed and trampled.

 

Blogs can open up your brand to discussions, especially if you accept comments.  Even if the comments call out a shortcoming (if there is a shortcoming that needs correction), it is better to have them do so while you are paying attention to them and have the opportunity to make the change, rather than find out these shortcomings as the blog author puts it: “I figure I’ll hear about our shortcomings by our clients walking out the door.”  By then, it’s too late.  They are on to your competition.

 

The advertising exec blog author (the irony of him blogging about how he hates blogs is just too sublime!) goes on to say that corporate blogs are the worst offenders – “And the corporate blog is the worst because it’s just a big PR tactic that is so very transparent.”  Amen to that.  He has just stated the key principal has to be integral to every communications campaign: transparency. 

 

You can’t hide behind the spin and shine.  You’ll be called out as the Emperor with no clothes.  People want transparency.  Target got called out because they were enticing people to rave about them in the social online communities. They want to feel they can get to know you and your brand.

 

A blog lets your audience get to “know” you a bit better, by reading about what you care about on your blog.  They can encounter your “parroting” of your company’s reports, or your pitches, just like anyone you speak with, whether online or in a face to face meeting.  They can also encounter your expertise, knowledge, experience, opinion, tastes, likes, competence, and so on.  A website is a great place for your audience to find and interact with you, if there are the right tools to do so.  A blog is one of those tools.

 

I spoke to a group of business professionals last week that were skeptical yet eager to learn about how blogs are being used today and whether or not they should have a blog or even recommend blogs to their clients (they are consultants).  I was impressed by shared inquisitiveness and curiosity, and most of all with their ability to embrace this new form of communication. They wanted to join in the discussion.

 

I think advertising will ultimately survive – there will always be a need for creative content, but it will have to move to the new communication mediums, and become on demand rather than an interruption.  Agencies, the slow ones, refusing to be nimble and embrace the changes and keep with the times, will be culled from the herd.  Those that embrace and innovate will be the ones setting their brands truly above the buzz.  What do you think? Leave a comment. Start a conversation. Engage!