Skittles to run last-minute holiday pop-up

The activation, taking place for one hour starting Christmas Eve, follows the closing of the Holiday Pawn Shop last year.


Mars Wrigley’s Skittles brand will be opening a new kind of holiday-themed pop-up this year after deciding to phase out its Holiday Pawn Shop concept in 2017.

In spite of taking a similar experiential approach to the holidays, Skittles’ new activation will look to celebrate people who complete their holiday shopping at the very last minute, says Michelle Lefler, corporate affairs director at Mars Wrigley Confectionery Canada.

“The Skittles brand is becoming well-known for celebrating the holiday season with a bit of a twist,” she says. After closing the Holiday Pawn Shop last year, “we know, as a brand, that we have an amazing opportunity to bring the Skittles fun and energy into the holiday season and to do it a little bit differently than we’ve done in the past.”

This year, a Skittles “Last Minute Gift Shop” at 423 Queen Street West in Toronto will open at 11:59 pm on Christmas Eve and will remain open until 12:59 a.m Christmas Day. Inside, the brand will be giving away 60 gifts (each with a “Skittles twist”) to the first 60 people in line. The idea is to reward procrastinators who have waited until the eleventh hour to wrap up their holiday shopping.

Customers who are at home that night can participate by visiting the Skittles campaign microsite on Dec. 24 from 11:59 pm to 12:00 am. Those who log on during that minute only will receive a coupon for $2 off select bags of candy. The offer is only valid for 60-seconds starting at the time; however, users can already access the site, which includes an online Skittles Waiting Game.

The concept is based on research showing 81% of Canadians believe people should be rewarded for taking their time shopping, rather than being judged for procrastinating. That finding came from a recent survey conducted by the brand aimed at unearthing how customers really feel about last-minute shopping.

The brand worked with DDB Canada on creative, with Mediacom on media (and the shop itself), and with Harbinger Communications on PR.

Skittles ended the Holiday Pawn Shop last year – which gave people disappointed with their holiday gifts a chance to exchange them for free Skittles – as it wanted to end the program on a high note after three years, Laura Amantea, marketing director at Wrigley Canada, told strategy at the time. However, the brand did not rule out the possibility of running a similar program in the future as a way of continuing to deliver on another “unexpected surprise.”

The Holiday Pawn Shop also included a charitable element, with the exchanged gifts going to The United Way. To maintain a charitable element for this year’s effort, Skittles will be donating $10,00 to Ronald McDonald House Charities Canada, the charitable partner of Mars Wrigley Confectionery.