Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, March 02, 2009

You Have A Website?

So Skittles has done what digital agencies Modernista and Zeus Jones did some time ago and turned its website into a series of social media links. But where Zeus Jones and Modernista were demonstrating that they undestood the arena in which they were operating, Skittles have really just changed their website.

There's no branded utility here - if I didn't want to visit their website, I surely won't change my mind because there are more options now. If I'm web savvy, I'll have all those links on my desktop anyway. And inevitably, there are software conflicts - I was asked to upgrade my browser before gaining access. Is it only me who wonders how large a proportion of internet users have a set-up that works for them but falls some way short of that felt to be the norm by early-adopting website designers?

Yes, it's generating a lot of noise in the social media village, but where's the interaction that is at the heart of the tools to which they're linking? Why do I want a widget sending me what will inevitably be corporate-influenced RSS feeds on my computer? Where's the permissive engagement? To me, it's too close to an old-school awareness exercise.

Now people will say that Skittles (or anyone else) will be able to "leverage" that awareness for the good of their product, but there's no such deal here. Getting a widget onto people's computers is like the worst kind of sponsorship that just plasters its logo all over an event with no reference to the context - it's all about presence and very little about purpose. When you view it in those terms, leverage becomes a synonym for exploit and people don't like to be exploited.

Bottom line for me - people don't visit websites to be promoted to and they certainly don't return to them, so trying to update one beyond providing constant accurate infomation seems like an expensive exercise in futility. What you mean to your customers is no longer - if it ever was - determined by your website.


Blogger peggy said...

haha, that skittle thing is not a website! i feel lost in a mess and like i m not having any control over my 'experience' there. plus, i really hate how they re trying to get data out of me when i want to visit this website thing. who is typing in the real birth date anyway? and why can t i move the 'interface'? i guess because i could leave quicker? and media = youtube, chatter = home = twitter?

6:07 AM, March 03, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

Welcome mysterious Peggy from that other blog. You seem to be agreeing with me. I like you.

5:02 PM, March 03, 2009  
Blogger peggy said...

thank you for the welcome and for liking me, sir dodds. actually, i think the problem with the skittles site is that they gave away an opportunity. a website might be the only thing online where a company can express itself clearly and create a 'brand experience', besides second life haha. however, skittles created a risky environment where it is exposing itself to critical messages on its own territory. nobody is really in control there, neither skittles nor the user. i would like you even more, if you would agree ;)

7:45 AM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Sam Ismail said...

Amen Sir.

10:24 AM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger john dodds said...

I'm ok with the riskiness Peggy - I quite like that, but it seems they didn't expect or like it and have withdrawn from Twitter because that's the easiest place fo people to write malicious negative stuff about them. My problem all along was why would skittles customers want to go to their website or this version of it in particular. What was in it for them? Skittles were saying we know where you hang out, but they seemed to me not to understand why.

1:40 PM, March 04, 2009  
Blogger Eaon Pritchard said...

'all about presence and very little about purpose'- thats the nugget.

4:40 AM, March 11, 2009  

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