The Skittles Holiday Pawn Shop

One SWEET deal!

Instead of returning or re-gifting your unwanted holiday gifts, why not trade them for something useful, like candy? A survey conducted by the marketing team at Wrigley Canada estimated that nearly 75% of Canadians have at some point in their lives received a bad holiday gift. This gave the people at Skittles an idea that would allow consumers a whole new way to "taste the rainbow".

In 2015, the candy company opened up a "Holiday Pawn Shop" in Toronto and invited the general public to exchange their unwanted holiday gifts for bags of the colorful candy. The store opened for only 5 days and was hugely successful! Items collected were donated to the Goodwill ReUse Center in Scarborough, Ontario.


“Not only a Canadian original, but it’s an original idea that’s
never been done anywhere else in the world,”
-Dan Alvo, director of marketing at Wrigley Canada.

To give you an idea of just how successful this marketing campaign was, here is an excerpt taken from the case study conducted by Mediacom.

"The campaign earned a staggering 100 million free media impressions, including coverage from Canada’s top five broadcasters.

During the five days the shop was open, thousands of customers traded unwanted items for more than 52,000 bags of Skittles, making it Wrigley’s largest-ever sampling event.

More than 3,300 items were collected and donated to one of Canada’s largest charities.

We achieved over 100 million impressions, 51,798 website visits and 2,720 visitors to the pawn shop."

Skittles wanted to increase sales as well as their consumer's awareness during the holidays. They needed to come up with an idea that would stand out among all the other holiday ads and compete with traditional holiday candy. In the end, they managed to increase sales by 4% (2% over their target). By combining their brand with a pinch of fun, a dash of generosity and whole lot of unexpected treats, Skittles managed to produce one of the best holiday marketing recipes ever created!

What unexpected "treats" can you offer your consumers in an effort to stand out from the crowd?

Morty Silber, CEO

Mad Strategies Inc.
a Wizard of Ads Partner