Who really wants to tweet about candy?

In an environment where Web 2.0 rules and corporate brands are scrambling to add social media to their web marketing mix, brand teams must seek a balance between social media savvy and Web 2.0 overload.

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is illustrative of the type of social media crusade that successfully accomplishes this Web 2.0 balancing act.  The Skittles brand, by comparison, falls flat.

So why does one mega brand excel while the other comes up short?

It’s simple.

The Dove brand utilizes social media to create meaningful dialogue around an issue millions of women struggle with every day.  The Skittles team is asking consumers to tweet, post photos, and send Facebook messages about candy.

See the difference?

An ad from Dove's Campaign for Real BeautyThe Dove brand’s marketing team conducted a global study of women’s definitions and perceptions of beauty and found that 81% of women surveyed in the U.S. strongly agree that “the media and advertising set an unrealistic standard of beauty that most women can’t ever achieve.”  It was this consumer research that enabled the brand team to facilitate a new social movement in the world of media.  And what better way to start a new social movement than to use the most innovative social media technologies available?

The campaign’s theme of challenging traditional stereotypes of beauty, exemplified through slogans such as “we see beauty all around us,” has reached millions of women through social media channels such as blogs, discussion forums, and viral web videos.  Each of these channels includes tools which facilitate and encourage dialogue between potential consumers and are free of traditional Web advertisements or product pitches.

One of Dove’s most successful social media efforts, the web video phenomenon “Dove Evolution,” has been viewed on YouTube over 9 million times (click here to see the video).  The video, like the blogs and discussion boards, is capable of creating an immediate reaction from a viewer.  You can almost picture women asking their friends – “What did you think of that new Dove video on YouTube?”

Further, the campaign’s discussion boards, which are available through the campaign Web site, require that users register before participating in the discussion, allowing Dove to collect valuable demographic (age) and contact (e-mail) information on every consumer who responds to the campaign.  Using this information, Dove is able to create stronger, more user-friendly social media networks.

By comparison, the Skittles brand falls on the opposite end of the social media spectrum in terms of effectiveness.

Skittle's Twitter PageUpon visiting skittles.com, users are immediately asked to enter their date of birth and accept certain “terms and conditions” before entering the site.  While this may seem like standard operating procedure for adult users, it will likely appear intimidating or even confusing for tweens and kids.  And while the brand deserves points for developing an innovative and buzz-worthy marketing strategy, its lame theme (“Interweb the Rainbow”) and yawn-inducing use of social media, which includes posting pictures of Skittles on flickr, wreaks of a corporate brand trying too hard to be hip.

Unlike the Dove Evolution video, you find yourself asking – do I really want to tweet about candy?

Facebook, flickr, Twitter, Wikipedia, and YouTube are all featured prominently on the brand’s Web site, but because Skittles chose to incorporate so many social media Web sites into its own, the brand is diluted and even lost in the mix.

Ultimately, in evaluating the strength of any social media effort we must ask ourselves as consumers, what do I want to be blogging, tweeting or chatting about?  Challenging traditional stereotypes of beauty or debating the merits of Wildberry versus Double Sour?

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2 Responses to Who really wants to tweet about candy?

  1. Yawn-inducing … ouch! You’re right to point out a great victory for Dove and a not so good effort by Skittles. You offer some good reasoning for why the Dove campaign works well and also break down the reasons why Skittles didn’t do so well (asking for age, having an unconvincing campaign theme, etc.) The way you title your post and position your conclusion, though, could lead a reader to believe that Skittles shouldn’t even bother with social media because they are a candy maker and therefore less important than a “real” message like perception of beauty. Instead, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how or if Skittles could have actually found the people who are passionate about candy (surely they are out there) and how they could engage them. (3)

    • greenbaumglocalcc says:

      I believe Skittles could have been more strategic in the types of social media channels they chose to incorporate into their brand plan. For example, a Skittles Facebook page is a great way to engage candy lovers, but as I said in my post, a Skittles flickr account doesn’t appear to be a wise choice for this brand. In fact, joining EVERY social media network may be doing more harm than good by stretching user resources too thin.

      I would recommend that Skittles maintain a Web site that is unique to their brand (instead of linking to other social media sites). Links could be provided to their Facebook and Twitter accounts on this Web site. In regards to engaging candy lovers specifically, I would suggest that Skittles engage members of the 170 “Candy Lovers” groups already on Facebook. Offer these existing social networkers online coupons and make it easier for them to access video-sharing tools through a Skittles.com homepage that is not directly linked to YouTube.

      Keep it simple.

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