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Why the Snickers, Skittles, Mars family marketing department has it all wrong

Posted in internet by tipo on March 11, 2009

Last week it was clear Skittles did not fully understand social media.  Creating pages on each of the major platforms does not create brand value and engagement.  The candy marketing department did not set goals other than (negative) exposure.

Today, NYC interactive agency Poke got hit with a cease and desist order from Snickers.  Poke launched an application called Snckrz! that allowed users to create their own Snickers logo and then tweet about it.  It was a huge success with over 80,000 users and many went on to visit the official Snickers site.  The catch is that Snickers never asked Poke to do this.  But it worked.  More so than the company’s expensive Skittles initiative with Agency.com. 

The lesson here:  Social media is not about audience, but participation.  Copyright weakens everyday on the Internet.  Skittles venture was too loose because it overlooked the control factor.  In Snickers case, the company should not have terminated Poke’s initiative.  The two should have created a deal that placed ownership of the user generated logos into Snickers hands.  That way, Snickers can monitor the production and discard any content it deems inappropriate. 

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2 Responses

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  1. anon said, on March 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I think this is a little different than the skittles twitter thing. The snckrz snacklish generator was directly effecting the campaign which plays on their logo. There are legal differences between allowing open discussions about a brand via social media and allowing others to edit your logo.

    Mars seems to be testing the social media waters, and I agree the legal department is trying to figure out how to swim in it without opening themselves up to problems.

    Cheers to them for pioneering the change that others may adopt in the future in one way or another.

  2. mygmablogs said, on March 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Yes, legality comes into play. But Snickers shot down the application without even trying to make it work. This concept is not new. Simpsonizeme.com is a great example of allowing users to manipulate your content under your own terms.


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