On the surface, this new Skittles Halloween ad is exactly what you’d expect a Skittles Halloween ad to be: funny, weird, and consistent with the brand’s 15-year run of keeping the oddvertising flames alight.
Created by agency DDB Chicago, the spot even goes meta for a minute by referencing an old (fake) Skittles ad that even the dude in the witch’s cauldron admits isn’t as good as he remembers.
The meta nature of this strange little spot leads us down a meta-meta path here. Stick with me for a moment, but the ad is also an apt, albeit Halloween-themed, metaphor for the current relationship between consumers, brands—and the constant effort to hold our attention.
Watch the ad if you haven’t already. I’ll wait.
We’re the witch, brands are the dude in the pot, and the Skittles are our attention.
Let’s try a not-at-all gimmicky thought exercise and replace a few words in the script.
POT DUDE: Do you have any more attention?
WITCH: No, I don’t have any more attention.
POT DUDE: Can you get any more?
WITCH: No, I can’t can’t any more!
POT DUDE: Why not, aren’t you a magic?
WITCH: Will you please leave?
POT DUDE: You told me when you signed up for this app that I could have all of your attention I wanted.
WITCH: Get out of my house!
POT DUDE: Have you seen our new commercial with the witch?
WITCH: (Puts head in hands, audible angry exhaling)
POT DUDE: Oh, it’s not as good as I remember.
WITCH: PLEASE GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.
POT DUDE: Can I have some more of your attention?
If you buy a pair of shoes and then an ad for that same pair of shoes follows you around the internet for the next month, you might relate to the Witch.
If you scroll through your social feeds and get confronted by some thirsty Brand Twitter tweet or promoted post begging for a Like, you feel like the Witch.
When the same brand inexplicably buys multiple commercial slots during a sporting event and decides to run the same ad over and over . . . . Every time you see a reverse mortgage ad . . . . Whenever you’re forced to think about third-party data brokers you’ve unwittingly granted permission to, Cambridge Analytica, and all the other shifty, backroom, barely legal ways personal data is being bought, sold, and mined all in the name of marketing efficiency, you are the Witch.
For decades, every one of us has been faced with thousands of marketing messages every single day.
Marketers: Take a good, long, hard look at the Witch’s face at the end of this ad. This is your audience.