Chasing rainbows

Now that's what I call marketing - ET sells Reese's Pieces

Listen, I’m not going to start believing my predictions. I promise. After all, one correct hit in all these years is not good odds. However, I do find it a bit spooky that I wrote this post last week talking about just how pointless FMCG-brand websites are, and how useless FMCG brands are therefore likely be on Twitter, and in less than 5 days, Skittles relaunches its site in a special efffort to prove me right. Perhaps they’re watching the house.

(For those who haven’t seen it, the site isn’t really a site, it just points at Skittles-related social media like Twitter, Wikipeida, Facebook and YouTube. The point is supposed to be that the concept of a site is becoming less meaningful and your brand should be in disparate locations. This is all true. But it doesn’t matter when you’re Skittles, because no one cares).

It also showed how mind-numbingly bored the twitter community must be. Because it properly lit up for the first time in ages. The discussion went something like this

‘What the hell has Skittles done to its site?’

‘I dunno, but if I twitter about it, I appear on it’

‘Wow that’s circular (and I also like it because I’m secretly seeking social approval because I never got picked for the football team in school)’

‘I think Skittles are shit’

‘Look, you just turned up on the Skittles site, in twitter, talking about how the Skittles site is shit because it uses twitter’

‘How post-super-modern. Now I like the Skittles site’

‘Skittles are made of dead flies’ eggs’

‘Now it says ‘skittles are made of dead flies’ eggs’ on the Skittles’ site’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘Blah’

‘I wish everyone would stop taling about Skittles’

‘I wish everyone would stop taling about Skittles’

‘Talking about not talking about Skittles is actually talking about Skittles’

etc

Now.

Stop and think. Put yourself in a deep state of reflection. Imagine the quiet trickle of a river. Forget all about microblogging. And ask yourself: are you going to buy any more Skittles? If you only had slightly old cheese and Skittles in the house, which would you eat? Do you believe Skittles are healthy? Would you give them to your three-year-old child?

Thought so.

It would be somewhat better if the idea was new. But it’s such a clear rip off of the Modernista! site from last year that I’m suprised they even changed the colours.

It’s not just proof of how redundant FMCG brand websites are, it’s an admission of the fact, by an agency. Otherwise it wouldn’t be an improvement to have one replaced by… nothing at all. The agency hasn’t even put up marketing messages for the individual brands – instead showing Wikipedia pages (as, ahem, predicted by Mystic Meg here). Jesus guys, at least string the client along a little bit. Or is this your big ‘going out of business’ sale?

And of course today, there will be loads of interest on the twitter search. But what happens tomorrow when everyone’s moved on? They’re not coming back!

The problem isn’t that people don’t like Skittles. I happen to hate them. But, I do have an unnaturally strong affection for Reese’s Pieces, and even that doesn’t get me looking the little beauties up on Twitter. I never ever think:  ‘Hmm, I wonder what people are saying about Reese’s Pieces today?’ (Incidentally, and to save you the bother, the answer is nothing much: 5 tweets in 24 hours. Altough there is a quite a vibrant Maltesers discussion going on :-)).

The biggest conflict here is between the words in the phrase ‘digital creative agency’. Agency means you have to charge your client for doing something they couldn’t perfectly well do themselves, creative should mean ‘new ideas that add value’ (thank you Ken Robinson) but acutally ends up meaning ‘suprising or pretty ideas’, and digital means (has come to mean) that you can’t buy your way in very effectively. Try making a cake with that recipe.

As far as I can tell, there’s only two interesting things about this site: Why on earth it has an age restriction, and how the hell agency.com sold it to their client – why couldn’t they have put that video on the web?

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