Cue the smug blog posts and reaction pieces when, 24 hours later, the Twitter backlash forced Skittles to change the primary landing page to its Wikipedia page. Further criticisms were made of the user experience and for Skittles' failure to filter the Twitter search results, which resulted in competitor links, profanity and prank tweets.
This was not a perfectly executed launch, and it even upset some people. But, by amending the campaign, Skittles has shown that it understands a fundamental tenant of social media -- listen to your users. If you don't get it right the first time, correcting it and trying again will gain you more respect in the long run. Skittles paid attention, filtered its Twitter feed and changed the first destination to its Facebook page.
Furthermore, how much of a user experience are most Fast Moving Consumer Goods product Web pages? Although brands do need a place where their customers can go to find key product information and contact details (this is still available on the new Skittles site), most fail to really engage their visitors. Skittles demonstrates that it's more interesting to see what your customers are doing with and saying about your product than to try and control how it's perceived.
This was a brave move into the social media arena and the amount of PR generated is priceless. With over 600,000 Facebook friends, over 5,000 blog posts and countless Twitter posts, it's not just marketing professionals who are taking part. A Facebook post best sums up the success of this campaign, "I never thought about Skittles before, but now I want to go buy some!"
Just one word of precaution -- if Skittles is going to benefit from users' fan activity, they might just expect something back in return.