The holidays can be a challenging time for any brand (much less a candy brand) to stand out. With candy canes, gumdrops and marshmallow Santas filling the shelves of every store, Skittles is upstaged by other sweets.
To drive sales over the holidays, the brand needed an idea that could not only compete against other candy, but also cut through the clutter of holiday advertising. The main objective was to increase Skittles’ brand share by 2% during the most competitive time of year.
Working with BBDO, the brand found a universal insight: while people love the holidays, there is one thing they don’t love – getting an awful gift they’ll never use. Research shows that nearly 75% of Canadians have been disappointed by a bad holiday gift at one point in their lives.
Based on this insight, the agency gave Canadians the opportunity to trade those unwanted gifts for something they did want: Skittles.
The insight led to the creation of a Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop, designed to generate social engagement and buzz for the brand. The campaign twisted the classic pawn shop by using Skittles as currency – an idea that aligned perfectly with the brand’s strategic positioning as an object of desire.
BBDO created a parody video of the typical low-budget pawn shop ad featuring Dale (Skittles’ very own dealmaker) on 15 December, 2015. The video was supported with an interactive website, print, social posts and PR.
The website (Skittlespawn.ca) allowed consumers to engage with the brand online and upload images of the items they wanted to exchange for Skittles. Real time “appraisers” would
instantly provide a certificate that could be redeemed for candy at the Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop. For those unable to make it to the shop, the appraisal certificate gave them $2 off a bag of Skittles anywhere in Canada.
On Boxing Day, the brand opened the pawn shop. In addition to daily social posts, it partnered with YouTube influencer and Skittles fan, Lilly Singh, who visited the store and drove a major spike in traffic.
Over five days, more than 52,000 bags of the candy were exchanged for unwanted gifts.
Sales increased 4%, doubling the target. There were also 98.8 million earned media impressions (394% over target), with coverage on CTV, CBC, City, CP24 and Global. The shop saw 2,700 visitors (317% over target), and the brand tracked nearly 16,000 website submissions (85% over target), 51,800 site visits (20% over target), 4.4 million video views and 503,000 total engagements.
What’s more, consumers from around the world have asked the Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop to come to their city.
Advertiser | Skittles
Agency | BBDO
SVP, ECDs | Todd Mackie, Denise Rossetto
VP, Associate CDs | Chris Booth, Joel Pylypiw
Senior AD | Mike Schonberger
Senior CW | Matt Hubbard
Agency producer | Terry Kavanagh
VP, group account director | Kristina Hayes
Account director | Saloni Wadehra
Account executive | Zach Kula