Mars’ Skittles has forgone a traditional website, and instead has created a seamless social media hub. If you go to the official Skittles website at www.skittles.com, the user is immediately directed to the Skittles fan page on Facebook.
The first thing you notice is a floating navigation tool (widget?). When the user clicks on one of the tabs, they are taken to the respective social networking platform. The Products tab drives to Wikipedia. The Chatter tab drives to Twitter. The Home and the Friends tabs drive to Facebook. The Media/Videos tab drives to YouTube and the Media/Photos tab drives to Flickr. Mars has completely given their Skittles online brand up to their customers.
According to ClickZ, the goal of the new home page is to let people do the marketing for Skittles. Ryan Bowling, a spokesperson for the MARS (the parent company of Skittles) said,
“In this day and age, where the consumer is extremely influential, the content for our Web site is really based off consumer chatter and beliefs about our brand.”
Bowling noted that directing Skittles.com visitors to social networking sites allows visitors to find out what people, not MARS, think about the candy. “When you hit the ‘product’ button on a typical Web site, it usually takes you to an information page,” said Bowling. “Now, instead of us telling it, the consumers are telling what the product is about.”
Skittles has created a recession based advertising plan. Leave the marketing up to the consumers and the site design and hosting of Skittles content up to top social media sites.
This is also one of the most integrated uses of social media marketing I have seen. The people at Skittles understand what each social media property is best used for and that is how they use it. This not only makes for a seamless integration of functionality, it also creates massive reach by utilizing the combined audiences of these top online sites.
Many brands will try to replicate these efforts, but they have to do so carefully. Not all brands work well with this approach to social marketing. This cannot be force fit.