The new Skittles website proves the idea that innovation does not always require the invention of a new wheel. Sometimes it is merely rearranging wheels already available. Developed by Agency.com, Skittles.com is more a social network hub than a static information depot. The new candy company digital address employs a mix of content from Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and Wikipedia. It also bears study by music industry marketers.
Ricarado Zane, President of Agency.com, acknowledges that the concept for the new presentation is built on previous work. “If you look at a site like Musicovery.com, it’s a floating nav concept that accesses Pandora, iTunes, a bunch of stuff depending on what people and users are saying. And I can’t say our idea is a pure play idea, either. It builds and steals from others. But it’s the first time it’s been used in [consumer product goods] that I’ve known about. And it’s the first time it’s been used not to just access other areas of what people are talking about Skittles, but it’s also a way to propagate that and stimulate that. So to that end I think it’s quite unique.” Zane’s quotes are contained in an Ad Age story that highlights the new approach because it energizes consumers. “Skittles as a brand is all about embracing and empowering the conversation online,” says an Agency.com spokeswoman. “Just look at the YouTube entries and their Facebook page. It’s kind of a natural evolution for them moving in to something like this.”
This approach to capturing consumers comes at a time when some social networks are also searching for/developing new business models to produce revenue. Twitter, for example, which recently received a $35 million round of venture capital, is now thought to be looking at itself and its 6 million users as a new style search engine able to report to marketers and brands [and perhaps music artists] on real time sentiment and conversation. (That would be valuable indeed in helping labels determine the viability of new artists and songs.)
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