Twitter was all the rage this morning with the revamp of Skittles.com because it seems the folks in Mars' marketing division revamped the site so it is a 300x250 ad unit with a picture and links. When you roll over the boxes it can either expands into landing pages or pops up a Twitter search results page or even Skittles's Facebook page.
Unfortunately for Skittles I didn't see too many flattering posts. Most people thought the revamp of the site was a hoax to drive traffic. A lot of people thought that their marketing division spent too much time at Hot Dog Johnny's because they are relying on Twitter for consumer generated content or Facebook. The Twitter ones could be particularly damaging because people can post (or did post) unflattering comments that can appear on their homepage. Or even worse, the frequent downtime of Twitter could display a Twitter apology. Of course the classic web designers think it is an awful execution. Me? I think it is brilliant for a product just like it.
- How much site utility did they have to start, none? Yes that's right. Why would anyone go back to this type of site? Sure if there was a promotion, it would generate traffic, but this is candy. How many times are you going back to look up the calorie value? Sure if they had recipes, you'd get better traffic, but for candy? Zero.
- Twitter Provides Sporadic Customer Updates. Again this is a low involvement product. How often are you going to Tweet how great the greens are? Sure they could be taking a beating today from so called marketing gurus, but after the first few days blow over, they'll have Twitters world wide generating content for them.
- Facebook Tells You Which of Your Friends Are Fans Too. Yes. When you look at the Fans on their Facebook page, you'll more likely than not see some of your Facebook friends who are also fans reinforcing for you that they like Skittles too. That's an awesome feature because they just turned your Facebook friends into product ambassadors for Skittles.
- No More Website Content. No need to figure out how to update the content often. Let Twitter and Facebook do it for you. The rest of the site is media information, product information, and contact links - basically low involvement stuff that changes infrequently.
- Websites Can Be Subservient to CGC. People will spend a lot more time on their Facebook and Twitter pages (Google too) than they will ever spend on a CPG site like Skittles.com. So instead of trying to pull people away from pages they'd rather visit, Skittles figured out how to keep their website front and center by making it a DHTML overlay.
I wrote a post a while back asking if you really need a website and it appears the good folks at Mars read a fellow Warren County/Morris County's blog post (Long Valley is about 10 minutes from Hackettstown). Sites that won't update their content often or don't provide utility to bring people back on a regular basis should pay close attention to Skittles.com.
Do you always need a website or should you just rely on Facebook and Twitter for your content? Very interesting question and I wish Skittles.com a lot of success. I think it is brilliant.