Rainbow Blight: A Chocolate Rain on Skittles’ Parade
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This morning, I brought my daughters' remaining Halloween candy into the office, determined to no longer spend three hours every night at home gorging on Kit Kats (the genius behind Kit Kat Dark deserves a shiv in the kidneys). Rather, I spent the last six hours at work gorging on Kit Kats.
Grabbing the near-empty candy bowl on the way out, I got my first look at this year's candy rejects. Sitting in a potpourri of stray Nerds and candy shell carnage was a line extension blunder that made me throw up a little in my mouth: Chocolate Skittles.
Like sister brand Starburst, Skittles has always walked a fine line between sweet-and-fruity and cloying-and-chemically. The tropical and wild berry varieties taste like miniature urinal cakes, but they're colorful and fun and arguably in-brand.
Skittles rmore recently ventured into sours and gums, both likely cannibals, but nothing as jaw-droppingly bad as the new brown swirly package boasting S'mores, Vanilla, Chocolate Caramel, Chocolate Pudding, and Brownie Batter candies. No rainbow. No fruit flavors. Just a pile of rabbit pellets that taste like clumps of undissolved chocolate protein powder.
Chocolate Skittles look bad and taste bad. But worse, they cause brand confusion and elbow into the product space of another lucrative Mars brand: M&Ms. I hope that, like this year's Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber costumes, Chocolate Skittles are shipped to some warehouse in Hoboken, and never have cause to make a repeat appearance. And here's hoping that 2009's dark chocolate offering comes from Heath, not Starburst.