Guest Review: Skittles ‘Fly’

By Kiran Aditham 

Yes ladies and gents, Arnold’s Roger Baldacci is becoming a regular here at the AgencySpy lab/lair/crypt and his latest entry concerns TBWA\Chiat\Day NY’s “Fly” ad for Skittles. Your move, Roger.

When you watch a Skittles commercial, you know you’re in for an acid trip. I’ve never done acid but I can only imagine it would feel like the sum of all Skittles’ spots blended together. Their new spot, “Fly,” takes us on another psychedelic spin, but it’s not as funny or as mad as some of their previous efforts. Spots like “Plant,” “Touch” and “Piñata” couple insane scenarios with writing that’s sharp and insightful: “Mom, do you think after the Skittles harvest, we could call the specialist?”; “Did you feed and dress yourself this morning?”; “I have to buy my Skittles downstairs, like everybody else!”

With “Fly,” the humor is all about (spoiler alert!) the blender flying away and returning to wreak havoc. It seemed the director and creative team tried to make up for a lack of their usual insanity through the overly “Swedish” casting, monochromatic set design and desaturated film style. Admittedly, this is a personal pet peeve of mine, but you don’t need to cast a whacky person with a unique look if the premise and the writing are funny. It’s like wetting down the pavement in car commercials (another pet peeve) to make the film more “dramatic.” You simply don’t need it.

Still, there is a lot to like about “Fly.” Kudos to the team for imbuing a boring appliance with a destructive, yet cute personality. And it was a brilliant touch to have the blender smash back in at the end. It’s still a great spot and perhaps it’s unfair to compare it to its legendary predecessors. Like any team given a Nike assignment, it must be incredibly daunting to get a new Skittles brief. And truth be told, I doubt I could even come up with a spot like “Fly,” even while tripping on acid.

Roger Baldacci is an EVP, ECD at Arnold Worldwide in Boston and currently leads the creative vision for Carnival Cruise Lines.  He believes that teachers should make more than actors, the Patriots need a better pass rush and the karma boomerang always returns to the thrower.