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Skittles Shoots for the Stars, Catches a Tasty Rainbow

Strategize the rainbow, taste the rainbow. At first glance, one might think that these Skittle ads were just a product of the weirdest stuff the campaign team could fit into 30-second spots. But according to Barton F. Graff’s founder and CCO, Gerry Graf, who was on the Skittles team at TBWA\Chiat\Day, one would be very wrong.

It was one element of magic, in a real world.

-Gerry Graf

The campaign wasn’t just a piñata explosion of strange. Its target audience, 13–15 year olds, was very well researched. Because of the rise of the internet, this particular group was unique compared to those who had inhabited that age group before them. They wanted to feel independent, but still have parents to fall back on. So the team created a quirky, crazy Skittles world. But the world still had rules. First, each spot required a singular element of magic, but had to otherwise be based in reality. This magic element could be a boy with a Skittle-bearing tree growing out of his belly, a roof that leaked Skittles, even a man with a beard he can control with his mind. Secondly, the environment and characters that surrounded the magic had to react as though it was normal. This combination resulted in silly, stupid humor. Perfect for teens—but admittedly a miss for older audiences. Regardless of appeal, it certainly drew attention.