Is it a ripoff of Modernista or is MARS Snackfood’s new Web site for Skittles just a case of following a cool trend?
The new Skittles.com behaves similarly to the Modernista approach in that the URL doesn’t take visitors to a typical product site. Instead, you land at a Wikipedia entry for the candy. On top of the entry, in the upper left corner, is a Modernista-like widget that allows you to navigate off the Wikipedia page to a Skittles-related Twitter feed, Facebook page, YouTube channel, Flickr page and more.
The Skittles site, created by Agency.com, “is very different than anything else consumers are seeing,” said MARS spokesman Ryan Bowling. “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.”
The site requests users to input their dates of birth. Bowling says that’s a company-wide policy, explaining, “We don’t market to anyone under 12 years old. That age screener is to enforce that marketing code.” While this might seem silly for a site focused on candy, it might be a good idea because the social networking sites being displayed are not censored. The Facebook page, for example, includes at least one f-bomb in a user comment.
Bowling said the Skittles site differs substantially from Modernista’s because it allows visitors to go to the social media sites. “The Skittles site is unique and I think its one-of-a-kind in terms of taking you to multiple sites while the Modernista site doesn’t do that,” he said. “It serves as your remote control.”
In a statement, MARS Vice President of Integrated Marketing Communications Carole Walker said the core Skittles-lover’s behavior “revolves around social and user generated media.” She said the new site “draws on this insight and acts as a guide” to Skittles-branded material on the Web.
According to Mars, the Skittles.com landing page will regularly change “depending upon what is currently in market.”