An oral history of Skittles’ Taste The Rainbow

It’s been 15 years since TBWA\Chiat\Day New York unleashed the singing rabbit and sentient beard on the world. We find out how it tapped into Skittles’ surreal alternate universe, and why it was never just about being weird for the sake of it

Fifteen years ago, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York dreamt up some gloriously bizarre adverts for Skittles. The creatives behind the Taste The Rainbow campaign at the time, Scott Vitrone and Ian Reichenthal, told stories that were darkly surreal, and completely unprecedented for a candy brand.

For those not familiar with the campaign, it featured a series of TV ads that all took place in a strange parallel universe, where Skittles raining from indoor clouds or falling from leaks in the ceiling were portrayed as perfectly commonplace. Vitrone and Reichenthal peopled this world with memorable characters, including a sentient beard – which interrupts a job interview as it reaches for sweets – and a man who’s been cursed to turn everything he touches into Skittles. There’s also the boy who trades his bag of sweets for a maniacal singing rabbit, only to realise later what a terrible mistake he’s made.