Appointment to view: how Skittles turned social

Skittles claims to have the UK's most popular confectionery Facebook brand page. Here's a look at how the brand has grown its online presence over the past few years.

In May Skittles introduced blue Skittles to its packs. To build momentum in the run-up to launch it used social networking to create a character who would deliver the blue Skittles to Britain. Users could then follow and comment his progress in real time online.

The campaign was created by TBWA before parent brand Mars consolidated its ad account in June, moving the Skittles business into Omnicom-owned DDB.

The campaign earned the brand over 2.3 million fans on Facebook. It followed other interactive drives including a man being submerged in Skittles and a call centre that translated users' status updates into video podcasts.

The "call centre" campaign resulted in 21,000 videos being uploaded online and the brand’s Facebook interaction with users rose by 11,000%. Skittles reported an increase in sales of 30% after the activity.

The Skittles branded Facebook page has been ‘liked’ by almost 19 million users to date. The latest activity on the page includes users uploading pictures of themselves appearing to be held in a giant hand.

Skittles took the decision to switch its online activity to user generated content on social media sites in 2009. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, with some users posting abusive material when the initiative was first rolled out. The brand has since modified its approach and is still a strong advocate of the two-way interaction it can initiate through social networks.