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    Skittles social media drive – a genius piece of marketing

    Companies and brands using social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube is nothing new. But Skittles has gone a little further than most in using social media to garner some free publicity.

    The power of social media for advertising purposes has been known for some time now. Look at the many examples of viral marketing we’ve already seen: videos on YouTube; adverts posing as apps on Facebook; regular Twitter updates from companies or brands.

    Skittles, a chewy fruit sweet with a hard shell made by Mars, has gone further than most, turning its homepage into a virtual cornucopia of social media links, both incoming and outgoing. There’s a section dedicated to Skittles YouTube page; one for the Facebook group, and the Wikipedia page is also in the mix.

    The biggest appearance on the Web site is reserved for Twitter, the micro-blogging service that allows anyone to send 140-character updates to their followers. After verifying your age, the homepage shows a live Twitter stream of people who have tweeted the word “skittles.”

    At first, before anyone had really noticed, this probably worked well, giving visitors to the Skittles homepage an insight into what was being said about the brand on Twitter. But once word got out, all hell broke loose. Now, it seems as though everyone is including the word “skittles” in their Twitter updates in order to be featured on the Skittles homepage.

    But it gets worse. People are now denigrating the Skittles brand in order to get noticed. Mike Butcher at TechCrunch UK tweeted, “Skittles give you cancer and is the cause of all world evil,” and then watched it appear on the Web site. VentureBeat notes there have also been racial slurs and sexually explicit tweets based on the ‘Taste The Rainbow’ slogan.

    While I’m sure Skittles would have preferred the spam and offensive comments to have stayed away, it’s all adding to the brand being talked about online. This is a genius piece of marketing because whether people like or dislike the sweets, they’re all talking about Skittles. Which is surely the idea?


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