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How Skittles’ Super Bowl Ad for One Teenager Came to Be

DDB Executive Creative Director Colin Selikow on creating a customised spot for Marcos Menendez

How Skittles’ Super Bowl Ad for One Teenager Came to Be

Like many brands, Skittles produced an ad specifically for the Super Bowl this year. Unlike many brands though, millions of people did not see it. Far less in fact - a round number of one. DDB North America and director Steve Ayson created a tailored ad for teenager Marcos Menendez and showed it only to him on Super Bowl Sunday. Teaser spots and content of him viewing the spot were available to the masses, but the spot itself was for his eyes only. 

Intrigued as to how this idea came about, LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with Colin Selikow, Executive Creative Director at DDB, to find out more. 

LBB> So, an ad for just one person tied around the event with the largest audience in the world – when did this idea first come around and what was the inspiration behind it? 

CS> The Skittles client challenged us (DDB) with a tough, but amazing brief – get noticed during one of the most cluttered media environments in the US – the Super Bowl. We knew we needed to do something pretty brave to get noticed, so while every brand was trying to get their message in front of as many people as possible, we decided to do something more unusual – create an exclusive ad for an audience of one.

LBB> What’s the strategic thinking behind this approach?

CS> Everyone knows Skittles as a brand with a history of offbeat and unique advertising. What makes it so unique is never being predictable. With so many marketers creating an ad that appeals to 100 million people, Skittles wanted to forge a different route – make a customised ad exclusively for one person and pretty much guarantee they’d love it. It’s an idea that fit perfectly with their DNA. 

LBB> What was Skittles’ reaction when you first pitched the idea?

CS> You’d think pitching an idea like this would be met with a fair amount of skepticism. But everyone at Skittles immediately saw the potential of the idea and gravitated towards it. It was one of those perfect moments when every person in the room goes, ‘that’s the one!’

LBB> You released some teasers to the ad that feature David Schwimmer – why was he the perfect tie-in for the campaign and the brand?

CS> The choice of celebrity needed to be as unexpected as the idea. We needed someone who was not only iconic, but also loved the absurdity of the idea and saw the comic potential. Once we got on the phone with David and he told us about some ideas he had about the relationship between his character and the sandwich, we knew we had our guy.

LBB> The teasers are quite out there – which is no big shock with Skittles! But what can you tell us about the actual ad? David is feeding Skittles to a sandwich in one of the teasers… 

CS> As Marcos revealed in his reaction that was streamed on Skittles’ Facebook Page, it was customised for him – there were scenes that were shot in his own house and around his hometown of Canoga Park, and the ad even featured appearances by Marcos’ mom and his best friend. Nobody but Marcos will see the final ad, but you can see from his reactions that he was pretty blown away by the lengths Skittles went to create this ad for him.

LBB> Tell us about Marcos – who is he? And how did he end up as the lucky guy that’ll get to see the ad?

CS> This is an idea about creating a real Super Bowl ad for a real Skittles fan. We looked for a regular teenager you could find anywhere in the country. Someone who would react in a genuine, authentic way to having an ad created exclusively for them. In the end, we picked Marcos Menendez. He was perfect – a down to earth teenager who loved Skittles and was thrilled to be involved. If you met him you’d agree that no one deserves their very own Super Bowl ad more than Marcos.

LBB> What kind of reaction have you seen to the campaign? Has there been any speculation that has particularly stuck out for you? 

CS> Around the Super Bowl there’s so much interest in advertising. But there’s also so much competition for attention. It’s a testament to how talk-worthy this idea is that it generated so much buzz. It really is such a crazy premise that it’s not surprising mainstream media picked up on it. We’ve seen almost every type of media outlet pick up on it. Marcos has even become a bit of a social media celebrity.

LBB> On top of the teasers, what other elements were there to this campaign?

CS> We launched with an announcement film that told the world what we were doing in typical Skittles fashion. We followed with the four teasers encouraging people to guess which was the real ad. We shared Marcos’ reaction to viewing the ad on Skittles’ Facebook page, and today we just released a film that wrapped up the program with some details on what went into the making of the ad.

LBB> Can you reveal who directed the spot and the teasers?

CS> We were lucky enough to get Steve Ayson to direct. Steve has a history of award winning work that is funny, quirky and unmistakable. We really could not have found a more perfect collaborator. Steve’s style and sense of humour brought so much to the project. 

LBB> Any parting thoughts?

CS> Ideas like this don’t come around very often. They get made even less often than that. It’s a testament to what happens when a great idea, a brave client and a big team of talented and dedicated people come together.
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Category: Food , Snacks and confectionary

Genre: Comedy , Digital , Experiential , People