Does the following scenario sound familiar?
You’re driving to an important business meeting and running slightly behind schedule. The road looks relatively empty, so you gun the engine up a notch, nudge the tachometer needle a bit higher and shift into overdrive. And then it happens.
The roar of your trusty V6 is overpowered by a piercing, whiny noise – the siren of a police car. We all know what happens next. “Yes officer, no officer, I’m sorry officer…see you in traffic court officer.” But it really doesn’t have to be that way. The fact is, some people have a higher chance of getting pulled over and slapped with hefty speeding tickets than others.
According to a study performed in New Zealand and published in the British Medical Journal, drivers operating red-colored vehicles are 16% more likely to get pulled over than those driving cars with neutral colors. While that statistic may come as a surprise to you, for those in the marketing business, it’s a no-brainer.
Colors have always played a crucial role in the advertising and marketing process. From portraying a product as trustworthy to creating an image of quality, the design and color-scheme surrounding a brand can absolutely make it or break it.
For example, the aforementioned color of red is a powerful one that serves to grab the attention of people and exudes a feeling of power, action and adrenaline. Therefore, a red car racing by a police officer is more likely to be noticed than a gray one. Likewise, a toy product packaged in a bright red box is more likely to catch the attention of a young child than a dull brown package.
But the color red is more than just an attention grabber – according to consumer psychologists, red stimulates the appetite (as does its cousin, orange). If you are in the restaurant or food business, be sure to have the color red as part of your décor, logo and color scheme… it can certainly prove to stimulate your bank account!
Alternatively, the color blue is known to be a relaxing, calming color that is used by chromo therapy specialists to help people lose weight, as the color blue has been proven to slow the metabolism. Come to think of it, perhaps that’s why there aren’t any foods that are naturally colored blue (true, there are blueberries, but they really are bordering on purple). However, blue is used extensively by spas, beauty clinics and industries where relaxation or therapy is utilized, along with travel agencies and vacation clinics (think bright blue skies, rich blue seas and so on).
Blue’s neighbor on the color wheel, green, evokes a feeling of trustworthiness and responsibility. Ever wonder why the paper currency of our country is green? Chances are, it wasn’t because Staples had a sale on green ink toner. Likewise, many prominent financial firms boast logos with green undertones that serve to reassure and encourage clients.
Green in a slightly lighter shade also connotes an impression of nature, rejuvenation and freshness. Many organic, macrobiotic and health food products incorporate green into their packaging. As of late, the color green has also become associated with ecological and environmental awareness, symbolizing a message of renewal.
White is the color that represents – what else? – purity. Skin care products, low-fat foods and companies in the pharmaceutical sector can benefit from using the color white in their marketing efforts to convey a message of wholesomeness and cleanliness.
While the color black has traditionally been viewed as a negative color, it too – when used properly – can convey an image of quality and superiority. For example, when Coca-Cola’s orange juice brand, Minute Maid, entered the cluttered juice market, it avoided the typical green and orange color motifs used by existing companies such as Tropicana and Grower’s Choice. Rather, it settled on an impressive color scheme of black and orange, positioning itself as a premium orange juice company. Judging from the immediate response and subsequent success it has encountered, the strategy paid off quite handsomely.
In fact, Coca-Cola and Pepsi make tremendous use of colors in their feuding media campaigns designed to attract customers. While some in the industry have dubbed the ongoing battle “The Cola Wars,” I respectfully suggest a more appropriate moniker: “The Color Wars.”
Because the reality is, colors do more than just enhance a business’s logo or product’s packaging – colors can generate tremendous profits as well. Hopefully, we will get to see that green!