Skittles gets patriotic by streaming a ‘beaver’

The candy brand is celebrating "Canada 151" with an off-beat video stream and a new limited-time product.

Skittles is marking Canada Day by paying tribute to the country’s national animal, albeit in a slightly strange way.

To celebrate “Canada’s 151st birthday,” the candy brand has set up a video stream where, on Canada Day, a man dressed in a beaver costume will spend the day building a dam by hand. Beyond just capturing the brand’s cheeky tone, the initiative will also help real beavers, as every view will help contribute to a donation to the David Suzuki Foundation to support Canada’s environment and wildlife.

“With all the activities for people to do on Canada Day, this is another way to do something a little bit differently so we can celebrate our country and the beaver and doing it in a way that only Skittles can,” says Diana Frost, VP of marketing at Mars Wrigley Confectionery Canada, referencing the brand’s proclivity for off-beat campaigns and activations in recent years, especially on digital channels.

Frost says partnering with the David Suzuki Foundation in particular not only ties into the wildlife conservation message of the live stream, but also gives it the opportunity to work with a leading, recognized Canadian non-profit for Canada Day. She adds that, alongside the silliness Skittles tends to lean into, it is important for the brand and Mars Wrigley as a whole to give Canadians the option to make an impact in their communities at the same time. The Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop, for example, always donated items brought in to the United Way.

On top of the live stream, the brand has also released a limited edition “Red & White Mix” for Canada Day, featuring red and white coloured candies in a mix of summer flavours. Last year, Mars Wrigley released red and white versions of M&Ms, one of the many ways brands commemorated Canada 150, but this year’s red and white Skittles are specifically meant to celebrate “Canada’s 151st birthday.” Many brands launch products that echo the colours of our national flag to celebrate our national holiday, so adding the streaming element to the product launch differentiates Skittles from the rest of the red and white pack, says Frost.

“Skittles is all about delighting fans with the unexpected, so why not bring in something that means more than just a product?,” she says.

Mars Wrigley worked with DDB, Mediacom and Harbinger on the campaign.