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Skittles is bringing back its award-winning, ghoulish "Touch the Rainbow" campaign.

1. In the category of unappetizing experiences, you could easily include shooting green pus into the eye of a cyclops and dodging a zombie's severed hand. But in the quest to make us eat more candy, Wrigley Canada's Skittles brand is tapping into Canadians' appetites for the surreal. The Cannes-winning digital campaign from BBDO Canada, which took the buzz online last spring, is back. The new Touch "Touch the Rainbow" spots aim to draw views the way it did in 2011, when the videos (with scenarios built around your finger touching the screen) nearly doubled their campaign target with 1.5 million views in three days – and 60 million in earned media (blog writeups, Twitter mentions, press articles, etc.) over the month. Its spot "Cat" won Gold in the Cyber category at Cannes last year; along with Other videos in the campaign, it also netted a Gold Film Lion at the festival.

2. Marketers couldn't ask for anything better than the ability to reach right into a customer's pocket. Yet Canadian companies aren't taking advantage of the phones consumers carry all the time. Slightly more than half of marketers surveyed had no plans to spend money on mobile marketing, according to a study released this week by International Data Corp Canada. This despite the fact that more people have phones that can handle Web surfing and rich graphics: 37 per cent of Canadians now have smartphones, according to the BrandSpark Canadian Shopper Study.

3. But are marketers wrong to shy away from mobile tricks and tools? Well, not all of them. The reason many companies are still experimenting with mobile is that the returns are minimal, and often unproven. Take the QR code – that scrambled black-and-white box placed on ads, which users can theoretically scan with their phones in exchange for coupons or website access. Research firm NM Incite has been watching the buzz on social-media sites about QR codes, and has come up against a wave of apathy. This month, only 0.015 per cent of all online conversations were related to QR codes. Most consumers are neutral toward them, with 11 per cent of social-media users expressing negative sentiment. The same number expressed positive sentiment. Perhaps most telling is that the positive conversation seems to largely be coming from companies using social media to push the use of their own QR codes.

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4. There's a party around your car and, apparently, you're invited. Mini Canada unleashed teams for guerrilla parties on the streets of Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver on Thursday, to celebrate 10 years of the car being sold in Canada. Unsuspecting Mini drivers who pulled up to the right stop light were fêted with balloons, streamers, banners and music before the light turned green. The auto maker's marketing efforts helped push sales above 5,000 annual units for the first time last year (total sales are now approaching 40,000 vehicles). The brand has become known for stunt advertising: In 2007, it promoted its headlights by hanging a Mini from the side of a building in Toronto with its brights shining skyward. The campaign was cut short when pilots were distracted, which the company counts as a sign of the ad's success. The pilots may have felt differently.


Susan Krashinsky

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