Social Media: Two Brands That Nail It

September 29, 2014

Social media offers some serious branding opportunities. The possibilities are pretty much endless, so let’s take a look at two companies who are using social media in big ways, in order to get a feel for what’s being done, what’s possible, and get some insight into how strategies are developed.

First, Skittles.

Skittles has invested hugely in social media. Go to and you’ll land on what’s essentially a tumbler blog that consolidates and visualizes their entire social media campaign. In other words, their home page is a social media hub for their brand. Their voice is unmistakable – weird, funny, cute, and bizarre all rolled into one. At the time of this writing, the first piece of content on their site reads: “It’s important to send skittles to far-off galaxies so aliens will know Earth is awesome.” In fact, much of their strategy revolves around creating these strange aphorisms, absurd GIFs, videos, and photos – essentially creating an amazing playground of weirdness for their audience. They’ve had huge success, driving massive engagement with people across a variety of social media networks, continuously pushing Skittles to the top of peoples’ minds.

There are a few major takeaways here. First, Skittles speaks in the first person, as in “I keep my Skittles in a secure vault I like to call ‘my belly.’” It simultaneously humanizes the brand and creates a fun sense of weirdness. Skittles is somebody you’d want to hang out with. Second, they engage with their audience. Take a look at their Twitter feed and you’ll see that they’re not just broadcasting content (even though they do create great content), they’re engaging with people – retweeting, responding, and acknowledging. Notice how their audience gets a huge thrill out of being personally responded to. Third, they create value, through content that others want to share, even if it’s just because it’s so off-the-wall amusing. They aren’t trying hard to sell Skittles at every turn, they’re having fun and inviting people to join in the madness.

Next, Old Spice.

In 2010, after their “Man Your Man Could Smell Like” ad campaign attracted millions of YouTube views, Old Spice created a social media campaign that generated 5.9 million views on the first day.

The strategy went like this: send invitations across a variety of social networks, inviting users to a 24 hour question and answer session with Isaiah Mustafa (the man your man could smell like). They built a custom program that pulled questions from across their social media accounts into one central location, and on the day of the event fielded as many questions as possible, crafting personalized, high-quality video responses featuring Isaiah Mustafa. And they were fast. The team created a concept/answer, shot the video, and published it, averaging 7 minutes per video over the span of 11 hours (that’s 87 video responses).

There are a few takeaways here. First, they crafted their campaign around what they already knew worked – Isaiah Mustafa ­– building on the proven success of their TV ad campaign. Second, they built responsiveness into the campaign itself, harnessing the true power of social media by leveraging – and pushing to the limits, really – the ability to interact with their audience. The thrill of real-time interaction is powerful. As Iain Tait, the Creative Director behind the Old Spice campaign, remarked, they were “operating on Internet time, but with a level of quality you’d get on a TV slot.” It’s important to note that this can be done on a much smaller scale – a simple, quality reply can do the trick.

That’s a quick look at two brands who are digging deep into social media, and getting awesome results. Get in touch with us if you’d like to look into leveraging social media for your brand – we’d love to help.

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