Much of Skittles advertising is built around the candy's rainbow profile. But to honor the LGBT pride celebrations in London this past weekend, the brand stripped off its colors.
"So this is kind of awkward, but we're just gonna go ahead and address the rainbow-colored elephant in the room," reads an uncharacteristically monochromatic open letter from the marketer, addressed to revelers, published in print on Friday. "You have the rainbow … we have the rainbow … and usually that's just hunky-dory.
"But this Pride, only one rainbow deserves to be the centre of attention—yours. And we're not going to be the ones to steal your rainbow thunder, no siree."
See the letter here. Click to enlarge:
The day after its launch, instead of the classic red packaging with its rainbow streak and multi-colored candies, Skittles and agency adam&eveDDB handed out a limited-edition run of white bags (with black lettering) containing white candies at the Pride parade in London, where they also appeared in an all-white float.
An animated video brought the same message to viewers:
It's a clever twist on the brand's usual marketing, even if it's a bit disingenuous: Contrary to its rhetoric, Skittles' precise goal here was to steal some of Pride's "rainbow thunder," as the brand describes it, by leveraging interest in the event to draw more attention to itself.
Then again, that's part of the company's job, and it does it relatively tastefully here.
And the more mainstream marketers who loudly support the LGBT community, the better. Because what better proof of acceptance is there than becoming another demographic that corporations openly (and proudly) target?
Project name: Give the Rainbow
Vice President Marketing, Europe: Rankin Carroll
Confections Marketing Manager: Daniel Newell
Brand Manager: Charlotte Kerr
Chief Creative Officer Ben Priest
Executive Creative Directors Ben Tollett, Richard Brim
Creatives: Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis
Integrated Producer: Maebh Kelly
Experiential Producer: Emilie Verlander
Project Manager: Caroline Tripp
Managing Partner: Fiona McArthur
Account Director: Brittany Lippett
Account Manager: Matt Dankis
Joint Head of Planning: Jessica Lovell
Senior Planner: David Mortimer
Design: Stanley's King Henry
Head of Design: Alex Fairman
Media agency: Mediacom
Media planner: Lindsey Jordan, Eloise Huntingford
Content production company: cain&abel