Skittles Sheds Its Rainbow to Celebrate London Pride

Candy clears the colorway for LGBT revelers in Britain

Much of Skittles advertising is built around the candy's rainbow profile. But to honor the LGBT pride celebrations in London this past weekend, the brand stripped off its colors. 

"So this is kind of awkward, but we're just gonna go ahead and address the rainbow-colored elephant in the room," reads an uncharacteristically monochromatic open letter from the marketer, addressed to revelers, published in print on Friday. "You have the rainbow … we have the rainbow … and usually that's just hunky-dory. 

"But this Pride, only one rainbow deserves to be the centre of attention—yours. And we're not going to be the ones to steal your rainbow thunder, no siree." 

See the letter here. Click to enlarge:

The day after its launch, instead of the classic red packaging with its rainbow streak and multi-colored candies, Skittles and agency adam&eveDDB handed out a limited-edition run of white bags (with black lettering) containing white candies at the Pride parade in London, where they also appeared in an all-white float.

An animated video brought the same message to viewers:

It's a clever twist on the brand's usual marketing, even if it's a bit disingenuous: Contrary to its rhetoric, Skittles' precise goal here was to steal some of Pride's "rainbow thunder," as the brand describes it, by leveraging interest in the event to draw more attention to itself. 

Then again, that's part of the company's job, and it does it relatively tastefully here.

And the more mainstream marketers who loudly support the LGBT community, the better. Because what better proof of acceptance is there than becoming another demographic that corporations openly (and proudly) target? 

CREDITS

Client: Mars/Wrigley

Brand: Skittles

Project name: Give the Rainbow

Vice President Marketing, Europe: Rankin Carroll

Confections Marketing Manager: Daniel Newell

Brand Manager: Charlotte Kerr

Agency: adam&eveDDB

Chief Creative Officer Ben Priest

Executive Creative Directors Ben Tollett, Richard Brim

Creatives: Matt Fitch, Mark Lewis

Integrated Producer: Maebh Kelly

Experiential Producer: Emilie Verlander

Project Manager: Caroline Tripp

Managing Partner: Fiona McArthur

Account Director: Brittany Lippett

Account Manager: Matt Dankis

Joint Head of Planning: Jessica Lovell

Senior Planner: David Mortimer

Design: Stanley's King Henry

Head of Design: Alex Fairman

Media agency: Mediacom

Media planner: Lindsey Jordan, Eloise Huntingford

Content production company: cain&abel