Skittles to hold store closing blowout

The third edition of the brand's Holiday Pawn Shop activation will be the last.
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Skittles is going to say goodbye to one of its more popular recent promotions before it gets stale, with the brand preparing to open the final edition of its Holiday Pawn Shop.

Once again occupying the space at 277 Queen St. West in downtown Toronto from Dec. 26 to 29, anyone disappointed by a gift they received during the holiday season can visit the Pawn Shop to trade in their items for free Skittles. A new video featuring Dale the Dealmaker promoting the store closing blowout has been created that will be part of Wrigley’s social and digital promotion of the activation.

As always, those who can’t make it to the Pawn Shop in person can have their items appraised online. Every “pawned” item in good condition will be donated to the United Way.

Wrigley worked with Tribal Worldwide Canada, Mediacom and Harbinger for this year’s campaign.

Laura Amantea, marketing director at Wrigley Canada, hasn’t completely ruled out bringing the Pawn Shop back at some point in the future, but the time came to move on to something new.

“Our whole job is to delight our fans with the unexpected, and the Pawn Shop is beginning to become a tradition for people in Toronto,” she says. “It’s time for us to start planning the next unexpected surprise.”

As in previous years, there will be drop-in visits from musicians, artists and local personalities. Wrigley has found that influencer partnerships have helped keep the program fresh over the last three years, but it has resisted tinkering with the core “pawn shop” concept, which has always been the focal point of the activation and an idea that has remained interesting to consumers.

“We had a great insight here, and that doesn’t go away,” Amantea says. “People still get gifts they want to get rid of, and getting Skittles in return… So we remained true to that insight and didn’t throw out past work just for the sake of having net new work, because you don’t always need that.”

In terms of the year-round marketing plan for Skittles, Wrigley has made experiential activations like “Pawn Shop” and its Halloween programs part of the brand’s baseline marketing, especially when it comes to work that can be tied to the point of purchase and shorten the customer journey. Amantea also says a key learning from “Pawn Shop” over the years has been the importance of balancing work that was previously effective with creating something new and unexpected, the latter of which is a cornerstone for a brand like Skittles.

“Skittles is a brand where people kind of expect that ‘WTF’ moment,” Amantea says. “As a marketer, you have to ensure that you’re not getting distracted by the new shiny objects, but still have enough in there that’s true to the brand DNA and why people are fans of the brand.”