Top Story

Home >> Marketing >> Article

Marketing Unplugged: This tastes so … white!

27-December-2011
Font Size   16
Marketing Unplugged: This tastes so … white!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog on companies that were using social causes to promote their brands. One of these brands was Coca Cola, which has launched a campaign in the USA and Canada to help save the habitat of the polar bear. As part of this campaign, they have changed their iconic red cans to white.

My son, who studies in Canada, read this article and wrote back to say that he had bought this new white can thinking it was a Diet Coke. Apparently he is not the only one to have made this mistake. Many other consumers did so too.

But what is even more interesting is that people who drank the Coke from the new white cans, thought the taste was different. They thought it was flat. There has been an uproar on social media, which has led to Coke back tracking and is now launching a new red can with the polar bear motif.

This is the bit that fascinates me. That a change in colour in the packaging is enough to make people say that the taste of the product has changed. Need we say more about the power of colour?

I have written previously about how consumers are irrational and about the importance of studying culture. Well, colour is a manifestation of both these ideas. Colour creates feelings that we aren’t able to explain in rational terms. And the same colour evokes different feelings in different cultures.

For some irrational and cultural reasons, red and white is the best colour combination to use for a brand. Look at the leading brands in many different categories and you will see that the leader is red and white. Coca Cola is an obvious example, and before it Thums Up had the same colour scheme. Colgate, Airtel, Wills Navy Cut, Lifebuoy, Toyota, and, of course, Red & White, have all gained from using this colour combination. Sports teams think this is a good colour scheme to use and brings them luck. Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have certainly benefitted, though Delhi Daredevils may not be so sure. And let’s not forget the Red Cross and the symbol of medicine generally.

So, red is a great colour in most cultures. In India, it is the colour of marriage and signifies purity. In China, it is the colour of celebration. In Anglo Saxon cultures, it is the colour of passion and love, though it also signifies danger. But it is not universally liked. In South Africa and some other places, red is the colour of mourning. In fact, the Red Cross has changed its colours to green and white in those countries.

White, on the other hand, is all about purity. It is light and mild. So, it is a good colour to use in brand extensions to signify a diet, or mild version. Green is the colour of nature. So it works for brands that are herbal and Ayurvedic.

Having said that, a few brands have benefited by innovating with their colours and going against the grain of their category. For example, the dominant colour in banking is blue. We can see this in the logos of HDFC Bank, State Bank of India, Citibank, Bank of America, Standard Chartered Bank, Deutsche Bank, Bank of India, Yes Bank, Indian Bank and Allahabad Bank. That’s a long list, but actually is only a partial one. In this sea of blue, HSBC has always been red and white.

Perhaps the blue signified royalty and premiumness, while HSBC wanted to be more of a mass brand. Normally finance people hate the colour red (in their world, profits are black and losses are red) and so a few years ago, HSBC decided that there was too much red in its logo and they toned it down and increased the white. I wonder if that made any difference to the perceptions of their service.

More recently, Bank of Baroda has changed its colour to a bright orange to go with their sun logo. Let’s see how that works for BOB. Maybe consumers will think they now have a sunnier disposition. They certainly hope so.

We have always known that colours affect your mood. But guess what, it might even affect the way consumers perceive your product’s taste, service and value.

(Suman Srivastava is Founder and Innovation Artist at “Marketing Unplugged”. He believes that creativity in marketing is too important to be left only to the “Creative” department. So his new company is focused on helping challenger brands create disruptive strategies. Read more at www.MarketingUnplugged.in.)

Tags Marketing Unplugged Suman Srivastava Coca Cola Thums Up Colgate Airtel Lifebuoy Toyota

Varun Raina, Marketing Manager, Airbnb India speaks to exchange4media about the successful #LiveThere campaign and how Bollywood helps them connect with its young consumer

Tim Castree is all praises for his team in India and trusts it to be a result of “an excellent execution of agency’s global strategy” headed by Kartik Sharma

Siddharth Dabhade says Criteo’s technology allows brands to engage with shoppers, create relevant experience on retail apps, thereby driving sales and profits

Shantanu Gangane says OTT platform Viu plans around 20+ originals and is all set to enter the Tamil market with a mix of syndicated and original content

right
left
OFF THE CUFF HAS JOURNALIST ARUN SHOURIE IN CONVERSATION WITH SHEKHAR GUPTA IN MUMBAI IAA HOSTS FIRST INDIAA REGIONAL AWARDS (TELUGU) IN HYDERABAD BREAK THE CEILING TOUCH THE SKY 2018 SEES OVERWHELMING INDUSTRY PARTICIPATION 10TH EDITION OF ABC EUREKA AWARDS IN MUMBAI CELEBRATES WORK OF PARTNER AGENCIES EMINENT JURY PICKS LOUDEST’S 100 MOST POWERFUL INDIAN MUSIC BUSINESS LEADERS MODE LOFT BY SABGROUP LAUNCHES SIGNATURE MENSWEAR POWER DRESSING CLOTHING LINE TOP MARKETERS DISCUSS ART AND SCIENCE OF EFFECTIVE LISTENING @PITCH CMO SUMMIT 2018, DELHI THIRD SEASON OF ‘INDIA’S TOP DIGITAL PLANNERS’ RECOGNIZES EXCELLENCE IN THE DIGITAL INDUSTRY WOMEN ECONOMIC FORUM 2018 SEES DISTINGUISHED GLOBAL PERSONALITIES IN ATTENDANCE PEPPER CREATIVE AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE THE BEST IN ADVERTISING IN SOUTH INDIA RADIO CITY’S POWER OF RADIO MEET HOSTS TOP ADVERTISING INDUSTRY LEADERS TOP INDUSTRY PERSONALITIES ATTEND ZOOM-MYNTRA EVENING TO CELEBRATE THEIR PARTNERSHIP LEADING MARKETERS, EXPERTS SHARE INSIGHTS ON DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION @ADOBE SYMPOSIUM IN MUMBAI NICKELODEON TRADE PARTY SEES MARKETING INDUSTRY LEADERS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN ATTENDANCE GOLDEN MIKES RADIO ADVERTISING AWARDS 2018 RECOGNIZE INDUSTRY’S MOST DESERVING ACHIEVERS AIMA MANAGING INDIA AWARDS HONOUR THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY BW BUSINESSWORLD’S GREAT INDIA DEBATE BRINGS TOGETHER INTELLECTUALS ACROSS INDUSTRY SECTORS BW BUSINESSWORLD SMART CITIES CONCLAVE PATNA 2018 SEES EMINENT INDUSTRY LEADERS IN ATTENDANCE EMINENT JURY PICKS WINNERS OF GOLDEN MIKES RADIO ADVERTISING AWARDS MADDYS 2018 SEE TOP ADVERTISING AND MARKETING INDUSTRY LEADERS IN ATTENDANCE

Gupta worked at Marico as the Group Product Head for the male grooming category

The ad which was shot on Monday in Mumbai’s Film City in Goregaon is slated to go on air in July.

The campaigns that won at The Abby's are not going to Cannes this year. The agency has chosen a different set of campaigns for the international festival of creativity