Senior Thesis : Literature Review Pt. 2 – Skittle’s

Skittle’s

On March 2nd, 2009 Skittle’s relaunched it’s homepage, changing it from a “normal” corporate website to a savvy social media whirlwind.  The opening page is  a Twitter feed, and in the upper left corner is a widget that will navigate you through the site.  Anyone who tweets about Skittle’s, or tags it through a hashtag (#), will have their post appear on the Skittle’s homepage.  According to David Berkowitz, a blogger on Search Insider, “the message Skittles is sending: What consumers say about the brand is more important than what the brand has to say to consumers.”

The day after the launchof the new homepage  when people discovered this, they decided to play a few jokes.  According to a blog post by Mashable, “ The jokes might have been a bit too harsh for Skittles, which today switched the homepage from a Twitter search for “Skittles” to their Facebook fan page…” (Schroeder, 2009).

While Skittle’s appears to be new media savvy, and its’ homepage is run by a Twitter feed, @skittles has 3 friends and an icon which is a cat that says “sup”.  Another questinable item on the table; you need to enter a date of birth in order to get into the Skittle’s website, due to the fact that the monitering may not be completely up to par and inappropriate comments may be seen on the Twitter feed.

Skittle’s is supposed to be a children’s candy, are targeting the people they should be with this new website?

The next thing that seems to catch people’s attention is the widget in the top left corner that navigates you through the site.  Even when minimized, this widget takes over majority of the left side of the screen.  If the point of the Twitter feed is so that they can show what their consumers have to say, wouldn’t they want people to see it?

Rob, a daily blogger for TwitTown wrote an article on the pros and cons of Skittle’s new homepage, stating that it was a “bold stroke of marketing brilliance, a total surrender of their brand to the power of social networking, crowd-sourcing and the freedom of information.  And the thing is, it may be foolproof – as much trouble and flak as the Skittles brand might have brought upon themselves, there’s one thing they’re guaranteed to get even more of – press.”  Later on in the cons part of the article, he also points out, “How does such a move actually help the Skittles brand?  Showing that they’re “hip” to Web 2.0 social networking doesn’t change anything about the product itself, and won’t convince people who don’t buy Skittles to go out and do so. If anything, all it shows is that Skittles is desperate to get attention in whatever format they can, regardless of whether or not it hurts the brand. This is a short-term tactical burst, not a long-term strategic plan. “ (Rob, 2009)

When it comes to a Web-site, “…there is much more to think about then the content of the site.  Design, color, navigation, and appropriate technology are all important aspects og a good web site… Thus, the best web sites focus primarily on the content to pull together the various buyers, markets, media, and products in one comprehensive place…” (Scott, 2007.)

Skittle’s has all of the necessary information throughout the site, but it is hard to navigate and gives no real insentive to be there.  With the exception of giving people excitement to see their name and  comment on a home page, there is no real reason for people to visit the site.  A very important aspect of social media is to identify your target audience, focus on them and what they want, and respond accordingly.  The Skittle’s home page launch is extremely one-sided, a lot of the company watching and not enough of the company responding to the public.

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