Leave Skittles alone! What did they ever do to you?!
The Twitter-sphere was in an uproar last Monday night when Donald Trump Jr. (the son of Republic nominee, Donald Trump) made a distasteful comment on his Twitter account when comparing Syrian refugees to the candy, Skittles (Hauser, 2016).
Skittles responded to the comment in the most direct and elegant manner, saying just enough to acknowledge Trump Jr’s comment, and being tactful by not getting caught-up in a sparing match of words, as to not fuel the drama.
Skittles’ parent company, Mars, Inc., packed a punch in the short Twitter statement: (1) The company disagreed with the statement without raging full-on war with the Republican nominee’s son, (2) they acted humanely by acknowledging that the refugees are people (and not candy) (3) and created great marketing for Skittles by not exploiting the situation, which in the end served as the best marketing technique (Disis, 2016; Wheaton, 2016).
Per AdWeek (Wheaton, 2016), Skittles was the most trending topic on Monday after Trump Jr.’s comment. Mar’s, Incorporated’s comment received 7.6K “Likes,” and had 5.3K “Retweets.” This is a company whose brand did an excellent job of taking the high-road and then being warded for it, as it raised Skittles’ brand equity (Wheaton, 2016; Young, 2014). I believe their action has won them high-favor with existing Skittles enthusiasts and potential customers. At the end of the day, when people use their buying power, they, we (I include myself in this context) ,want to invest in a brand of substance (Young, 2014).
Skittles via Mars, Incorporated, taught us marketing students the following 3 marketing lessons: (1) use the power of social media for good (Young, 2014); (2), to complement the previous point, the power of ‘word of mouse’ is a real thing (Young, 2014). People commenting and sharing opinions all over the web leaves a lasting ether imprint, so be on the right side of history, as ‘sitting-it-out’ can generate more good than milking the situation for all it’s worth (as evidenced by the number of ‘Likes’ and ‘Retweets’ Mars, Incorporated received); (3) brand association helps create brand loyalty (Young, 2014), and the words that come to mind after knowing how well Skittles-Mars, Incorporated, handled this situation include: cool, humane, and people-driven.
Next time I’m in line at my local Gelson’s, I’m gonna grab a bag of Skittles, they deserve my business.
“Taste The Rainbow”
Disis, J. (2016, September, 20). What corporate American can learn from Skittles’ response to Donald Trump Jr. CNN Money [online]. Retrieved from, http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/20/news/companies/skittles-syrian-refugee-trump-jr-response/
Hauser, C. (2016, September 20). Donald Trump Jr. compares Syrian refugees to Skittles that ‘would kill you’. The New York Times [online]. Retrieved from, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/us/politics/donald-trump-jr-faces-backlash-after-comparing-syrian-refugees-to-skittles-that-can-kill.html?_r=0
Wheaton, K. (2016, September). Ad review: Skittles make the play of the week. AdAge [online]. Retrieved from, http://adage.com/article/ad-review/ad-review-skittles-makes-play-week/306001/?utm_source=daily_email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=adage&ttl=1475278574?utm_visit=1982927
Young, A. (2014). Brand media strategy: Integrated communications planning in the digital era. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.