Quite Literally the Usual Way
“When men abandon reason, physical force becomes their only means of dealing with one another and of settling disagreements.” -Ayn Rand
While the physical force deciding the disagreement in this commercial is consensual, it is still physical force, and therefore unreasonable. A rational analysis of “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” was not conducted, so even if the victor of the arm wrestling match happened to be the same person who would have been the victor had one been conducted, it still is not a reasonable settlement of the disagreement (in that case, the decision is completely arbitrary).
The purpose of this commercial is to make light of the fact that in today’s society, “the usual way” really is physical force. Although there is still much formality and reference to law and procedure, it is all window-dressing, meant to conceal a process which is tantamount to “strong arming” (rather than justice).
Why would people want to make light of this fact? In order to alleviate whatever anxiety (because they know that such a culture means that their own legitimate interests are perpetually on the chopping block), as well as whatever guilt they might feel (because they know that they have eschewed America’s founding principles in order to acquire short-term personal gains). This commercial allows such people to tell themselves that if “the usual way” really was one where reason took a back seat to the arbitrary conclusions of force, then that is what it would look like – and because it doesn’t look like that, then today’s actual state of affairs must be different (somehow).
Skittles hopes that the pleasant alleviation of that anxiety and guilt will remind people of Skittles whenever they need to alleviate it again (which they will, since the only way to make it actually go away is to actually change the culture’s “usual way”), remember that they’re hungry or have a craving for sweets or whatever, and then purchase their product as the way to satisfy it.
Using emotional manipulation of the worst kind – as opposed to rationality and/or the complimenting of rational emotions – in order to gain a short-term boost in sales or an advantage over competitors: a perfect, and ironic, example of the “usual way” that the commercial itself pretends to deride.