Notes in the Margin

On the intersection of web apps, digital content and social media Becomes an Echo

Last week Skittles launched a new web site. Sort of.

There’s not really a web site there, per se, just a floating menu widget hovering (like the ghost of business future) over various views into Skittles presence in several social media contexts. It launches with the Wikipedia page on Skittles showing in the background (you can navigate elsewhere on Wikipedia, I checked, though the hovering Skittles menu remains as long as you are technically on the site).

Click the “Chatter” link, and you’ll load a page of Twitter search results for the phrase “skittles”. And there’s a Facebook page and a YouTube page. This must be great for Skittles – they no longer have to create content: the skittles “community” is doing it for them.

In a nice post entitled Why Skittles Killed Its Web Site, David Berkowitz summed it up this way:

Here’s the message Skittles is sending: What consumers say about the brand is more important than what the brand has to say to consumers.

In essence, Skittles removed its own voice and substituted it with the voice of anyone who brings up the subject in conversation. This has a vague intimation of the nymph Echo, who was punished by Hera for speaking too insistently. Hera removed Echo’s ability to speak anything other than repeating what others said.

It’s an interesting gambit – to let the public speak for you. And remove your own voice. Of course, the stakes are pretty low – acording to David Berkowitz’s math, Skittles has over 30 times the number of fans on Facebook than it has monthly visitors to its site.


Written by tstaley

March 10, 2009 at 2:31 am

Posted in Social Web

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