E2 Blog Contest Entry- Skittles® Gets Rid of Their Website!

First of all, I’d like to applaud Mars for taking such a bold initiative and recognizing the importance of social media in business. They stood up and took a big risk with this one, and I think it’ll pay off regardless of some of the shortcomings, even if the added traffic to their site is simply because of the different view they gave people of a brand website.
Wikipedia on Skittles

Wikipedia on Skittles

YouTube on Skittles

YouTube on Skittles

Some of the shortcomings that I mentioned above would include the following:

  • Stepping over the branding of the sites they are using. Twitter, YouTube and Wikipedia are all probably seeing a large increase in traffic to their Skittles branded pages yet are having their logo overtaken by the Skittles® navigation bar and logo which seems rude at best. Most people that would be using Skittles.com to reach these sites however will most likely know what sites they are being redirected to and therefore the logos are not necessary. Perhaps they are still gaining after all as Skittles® is branding them as experts in specifics stations, ie. Media, Definition, Friends, Chatter.
  • Losing all navigation abilities once the visitor clicks on a page. This I think is a killer to the ingenuity of this interactive idea of Skittles®. If you click on any video on the Media section, any Twitter name in the Chatter section, or essentially any other link outside of the Skittles® navigation bar, you lose the navigation bar entirely along with any chance of visiting another Skittles® subsection. Now, technically speaking, other than including some form of frames on the pages (akin to the way you view Google images that you’ve searched for), I can’t think of a possible solution to this one. Of course, adding the nasty frames to the page as Google does would make for a much less sleek display however it would allow visitors to actually keep navigating around Skittles®’ new ‘website’ which would make for much better usability.
  • Perhaps a little confusing to those not familar with the web. Now, with the crowd that would potentially be visiting the website for Skittles®, I don’t know that this would truly be an issue but it should be brought up. Sending users to a different site altogether without more than a paragraph of explanation seems a bit confusing and potentially untrustworthy. At one point in time, the navigation bar offers an explanation that to get rid of it, you simply need to type in the address of another website, so they are recognizing that they may have some visitors that might feel hijacked by this technique. In a world where claims of viruses still abound e-mail inboxes, wouldn’t it be better to have a link to an explanation of how/why they made the change and what it means for the visitor. The only explanation displayed to the visitor is a short paragraph at the beginning shown simultaneously as they are requesting birthdate verification in order to proceed. This may cause the statement to go unnoticed entirely.

But what are your thoughts? Did Skittles® hit a home-run, foul up a potential good idea or did they just plain strike out?