2008 Creativity Award Winner: Skittles: Touch

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The much-celebrated and oft-awarded (and now recently disbanded) candy masterminds of TBWA/Chiat/Day, New York continued their streak of oddly whimsical to downright hilarious sweet snacking spots with 2007's "Touch" for Skittles. The spot introduces us to Tim, a kind-looking older gentleman, working the desk at a local video shop. When his co-worker brings over the wide-eyed Joel to check out Tim's special talent, you might expect things to turn a tad wacky. Instead, we're treated to a dark, poignant humor rarely seen when hocking candy pieces. Everything Tim touches turns to Skittles, and while many ads might've seen this as "awesome," Tim forlornly points out the downside— "Is it awesome that you can't hold your newborn baby boy in your arms?" He even inadvertently admits to homicide while telling of a bus ride handshake. This entire exchange is a brooding, moody bit of comedic genius that matches the bar set by the likes of "Trade," "Beard" and "Ernie the Klepto." The bulk of "Touch" comes from the minds of former CW/AD team Eric Kallman and Craig Allenwhile in terms of guidance, former GCD Ian Reichenthal says, "We had a lot of conversations with the guys in advance about trying out new voices, but still keeping it Skittles." And keep it Skittles they did. The spot ranked as Creativity Online's most watched spot of 2007 and kept the Skittles rep for brilliant and bizarre firmly intact.

Q&A with Art Director Craig Allen and Copywriter Eric Kallman

Where did the idea for "Touch" come from?

Allen: There is no rhyme or reason. We wrote a lot of scripts. We thought it would be funny to do a slightly sad spot for a candy brand.

You guys had a long line of successful Skittles spots. What were your objectives on this particular project?

Kallman: We are lucky to be able to work on an established campaign that people like—our job was to try and keep that going. Each round people's expectations are higher and we do our best to beat the round before. With "Touch" we pushed ourselves to take Skittles to a different place, to keep it fresh and new.

What are the challenges of doing work in the candy category? What kind of risks were you taking, if any?

Kallman: Everyone tells us that working on candy is easy but it is actually very challenging. Particularly working on Skittles, it has gotten to a place where people expect a certain level of work from the brand and it gets harder and harder to meet those standards.

What kind of results did you see from this particular spot?

Allen:From a creative standpoint it's gotten a great reception on YouTube and other forums. Also, our parents said they really like it.

Any interesting anecdotes from when you were creating the spot?

Kallman: The effects in the spot had never been done before so we had a lot of technical problems, which made for a very long shoot day. So long in fact that the police came to try and shut us down during the last hours of shooting. Luckily, Tom (Kuntz) is a very smooth gentleman and persuaded them to let us finish. Thanks Tom.

What role does creativity play when it comes to building a brand? How do you define brand creativity and how does it need to be used in order to be effective?

Allen: It's hard to get people to "like" a brand. The more creative a brand is, the more people respond to it. If a brand isn't willing to take risks, it's going to have a hard time breaking through. People aren't stupid—if the work isn't interesting people aren't going to care about it.

Check out more of the 2008 Creativity Award winners.
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