Super Bowl

Skittles Art Gets a Closer Look From Steven Tyler in Complete Super Bowl Spot

Portrait of the Rocker Made From Skittles Shows Candy Brand Taking Cues From a Consumer Use That Doesn't Involve Eating

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Advertising Age Player

Skittles is using a mix of celebrity, humor and art in its commercial for Super Bowl 50.

The latest installment in its "Taste the Rainbow" campaign is set to air during the second quarter of Sunday's game and marks the candy brand's second consecutive Super Bowl appearance.

The 30-second spot begins with rock star Steven Tyler walking down the hallway of an opulent home, decked out with suits of armor and gold records along with a rug featuring his initials, which match the ones on the robe he is wearing. Mr. Tyler sees the unveiling of a portrait of himself made of Skittles. The portrait talks and sings, trying to hit the high notes in Aerosmith's "Dream On." But perhaps it's trying just a bit too hard, thanks to Mr. Tyler's prodding.

The commercial ends with the tagline "Rock the rainbow, Taste the rainbow," and #SkittlesArt on the screen.

The idea for the spot began with the realization that people don't just eat Skittles, they also use the bright candies for art projects that they share on social platforms. "The creative has to start with a consumer truth," said Matt Montei, senior director of confections and seasonal business for Wrigley. One idea was to show an individual talking to a portrait, which was then built upon with the idea of using a celebrity portrait.

"We start off with the script and if we think a celebrity can amplify the script, we'll use a celebrity. But we don't do it the other way around," said Mr. Montei. Last year, Skittles steered clear of celebrities, though it did use spokesman Marshawn Lynch in marketing efforts surrounding the game.

For this year's take, "Steven rose to the top. He loves Skittles; he is a pretty entertaining person himself; we think his image really fit the brand," said Mr. Montei. Plus, hiring a singer amplified the conversation. The spot was shot in December near Mr. Tyler's house in Nashville but not in his own home, Mr. Montei said.

DDB Chicago is the creative agency on the campaign.

Privately-held Mars, which owns Wrigley, does not disclose sales figures. But after last year's Super Bowl push, "we had a great year and we saw significant sales increases," Mr. Montei said, adding that Skittles became the country's top candy in the non-chocolate category.

To spur sales this year, Skittles and sister brand Snickers are doing a joint in-store promotional push. The brands are using their status as official National Football League sponsors to 'Make Super Bowl 50 Even Sweeter,' Mr. Montei said.

Snickers, meanwhile, has teased a Super Bowl commercial starring a Marilyn Monroe wannabe singing "Happy Birthday" for the game's 50th.

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