Monday, March 2, 2009

Skittles on Twitter: From Social Media Sensation to Cliche in 48 Hours

Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.

Love it or hate it, Twitter is quickly becoming the outlet of choice for brand building innovation. One of the boldest moves yet comes from Skittles. Applying the Twitter Search API it to started a Twitter sensation, with Skittles stealing the limelight for at least 24 hours leading up through Monday, March 2, 2009.

By capturing and broadcasting all tweets containing "Skittles" or a close variant, Mars Incorporated is giving users the opportunity to interact with the Skittles brand, appear on the Skittles homepage, and network with other people discussing the same subject in one fell swoop.

The concept worked all too well, and is now resulting in some backlash against the brand. Twitter users are complaining about difficulty finding information and even using the service as many scramble to participate.

Although the idea is not totally original, the execution far exceeds predecessor campaigns. I have no doubt that Skittles will be a case study for social media in the months to come. Kudos to for successfully pushing the idea through. A tough battle to be sure.

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