News & Views

Skittles / Get Skittles Rich

by Contagious I/O

Pyramid scheme at the end of the rainbow

Skittles has cooked up a scheme that could make one Canadian fan a brand devotee for life - that is, if they don't get sick of eating Skittles. The candy brand, a division of Wrigley, has launched a contest called Get Skittles Rich, with the ultimate winner earning a prize of one million Skittles. That's around 5,500 normal-sized bags of the chewy candies, if you're wondering; it's enough to eat a bag every day for the next fifteen years. Let's hope whoever wins has a lot of friends.

The contest, developed by BBDO, Toronto, is a pyramid scheme with a social twist. A campaign video, starring a Skittles millionaire character named Danny Falcon, is privately listed on YouTube. Viewers are encouraged to share the video with friends. Each time one of their shared videos is viewed, they earn four virtual Skittles. If one of those viewers signs up for the Get Skittles Rich contest, the original sharer earns eight more virtual candies. Like any good pyramid scheme, the rewards keep coming in as friends-of-friends pass the video around.

A dedicated site for the campaign,, keeps track of the leaderboard and individual status. It also features games - Spin The Wheel and Pick A Hand - that offer participants opportunities to earn more virtual candies.

Wrigley Canada director Dan Alvo, likened the pursuit of virtual Skittles to the quest for online accolades that have little meaning in real like - from badges to Likes. Speaking to Marketing, he said, 'When you think about Facebook and how many friends you have, there is this kind of comparison that you may do. Of course, it's the virtual world and kind of meaningless, yet we want to accumulate these things.'

The campaign will run until 3 December, at which point the Skittles millionaire will be announced. Three runner ups will earn 100,000 Skittles each, as well. Daily prizes of headphones and charging stations will be given out throughout the contest.

Contagious Insight

Recognising that social currency can make people feel 'digital rich', Skittles has put together a solid campaign, tying a virtual commodity to an actual product in the form of an absurd number of Skittles. It's smart that the main mode of earning virtual points is via sharing, encouraging people with large networks to get involved, spreading word of the contest in a snowball manner. Though the campaign video refers to the contest, tongue firmly planted in cheek, as a 'triangle network', it's actually a prototypical pyramid scheme - which persuade people to buy into a low-risk/high-reward proposition.

With many contests like this, amassing virtual currency is mostly a game of who sticks with it the longest; if you log in every day and go through a number of steps, you'll probably find yourself high up on the leaderboard. Skittles Rich, on the other hand, limits the number of points you can rack up by playing games, meaning the people who actually drive the most traffic will flourish.

Of course, that means there's less incentive for people with small groups of friends to get involved. We, personally, would love to see Canadian Justin Bieber swoop in, tweet about the campaign once, let his legions of fans do the heavy lifting and reap their Skittles-shaped rewards.

Skittles has baked in a few easier-to-reach rewards throughout the contest. People with the most Skittles each day take home a prize, a random participant wins headphones or a charging station every Sunday, and the people with the most sign-ups and views on Saturdays get a reward as a 'Saturday Star'. This is a well-designed digital campaign with something for everyone, and a cheekily entertaining video to boot.

Get Skittles Rich

This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O. Contagious I/O is our bespoke trends, inspiration, insight and analysis service, providing daily innovative marketing intelligence across a comprehensive range of sectors to brands and agencies across the world. For more information about Contagious I/O contact