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Q: Colors in branding ( Answered,   6 Comments )
Subject: Colors in branding
Category: Business and Money > Advertising and Marketing
Asked by: lindstrom-ga
List Price: $7.00
Posted: 17 Dec 2003 19:38 PST
Expires: 16 Jan 2004 19:38 PST
Question ID: 288192
I'm looking for various campaigns which has used colors as their
theme. Wireless carrier Orange, for example, offered students across
major cities a free paint job for their cars. The only condition was
that the paint color had to be the Orange! Can you think of any other
brands, which "owns" a color - running similar creative campaigns?

Good luck,

Subject: Re: Colors in branding
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 17 Dec 2003 20:57 PST
Hello again Martin!

Below you will find the results of my research:

Mary Kay Cosmetics ? Pink

?One company that has understood the value of pink in marketing to
women for much longer than just this season is Mary Kay Inc.2
?Company founder Mary Kay Ash, who passed away in 2001, founded her
company as Beauty by Mary Kay in 1963 with nine independent beauty
consultants. She selected pink as the distinctive signature color of
her product packaging so they would stand out in the traditionally
all-white bathrooms of the day.?

?What transpired was the creation of one of the most easily
recognizable marketing symbols in the world. After Mary Kay Ash
requested a local Cadillac dealer paint her car ?Mountain Laurel? pink
to match the company?s eye and lip palettes, everyone in the
independent sales force instantly wanted one. Ash ingeniously crafted
the career car program into one of the most coveted sales incentive
prizes ever.?

Source : Data Solutions For You

Mary Kay wanted containers to be so attractive that women would want
to leave them out on display. So she chose pink.

?As the company grew, and as Mary Kay gained public stature,
co-workers and outsiders alike would routinely give her pink gifts.
Within a decade, without particularly trying, she had established a
color for the company."


Mary Kay started awarding pink Cadillacs to top salespeople. 

?I wanted a Cadillac, because it was the top of the line. I wanted
pink because it was ?our color,? and because it got the attention our
top producers deserved.? Eventually, the company ordered so many
vehicles from General Motors that the color came to be called ?Mary
Kay Pink.? With each passing year, the link between the company and
the color became more solidified. Today, a year and a half after Mary
Kay Ash?s death, the company?s pink headquarters stand as a massive
beacon on the Dallas skyline.?

UPS add campaign is ?What can BROWN do for you??

?That brown color you see on UPS trucks is the same brown color you
see on its Web site, on its drivers?and on its advertising campaign.
Indeed, in February 2002, UPS launched the largest ad blitz in its
95-year history, one that explicitly encourages customers to identify
the company with the color of mud. The ?What can BROWN do for you??
campaign is intended to support the delivery company?s drive to branch
out into areas like logistics and customs clearance. But why say all
that when you can just count on the fact that people tend to identify
the very color of a company with reliability? As one UPS marketing
executive put it: ?At UPS, brown is more than a color?it?s a tangible
asset that people associate with all the things that are good about
our brand.?

?Why brown? Back in 1916, Charlie Soderstrom, one of the company?s
four founders, was searching for a color that would endow the
fledgling Merchants Parcel Delivery company with professionalism and
class. As an example, he looked to a rival mode of transport?trains.
The railcars produced by the Pullman company, which symbolized the
golden age of elegant rail travel, were a rich brown. Brown also had
the added benefit of allowing dirt on cars and uniforms to remain less

IBM is identified with the color blue

?It?s a little more difficult to figure out precisely why computer
giant IBM goes by Big Blue. Perhaps it?s because IBM has long been a
large-capitalization blue-chip stock. Or perhaps because back in the
1950s and ?60s company employees wore blue suits. Or because the
company?s logo is blue. Whatever the origins?which are almost
certainly not from within the company?IBM has infused the color into
many of its products and programs. The chess-playing computer is known
as Deep Blue, a super-fast computer project is Blue Gene, and an
internship program for computer-science students is Extreme Blue.?

The main color of Yellow Corporation, a Fortune 500 transportation
company, is?orange.

?Yellow was founded in Oklahoma in 1924 by A.J. Harrell, as the Yellow
Cab and Transit Company. At the time, taxi owners swathed their
vehicles in garish yellow, the better for prospective fares to
identify the cars. But as Harrell?s company branched out into trucking
and transport, he grew concerned about road safety. In 1929, he asked
the DuPont Company to run some tests and figure out which color would
provide the highest visibility for his trucks from far distances on
the highway. ?We need to find the safest color on the road,? he said.
DuPont came back with a close neighbor to yellow: a bright orange with
a pigmentation similar to that of a wild berry. The company has stuck
with Swamp Holly Orange for more than 70 years.?

Source: Attaché Magazine Archives

Another article about UPS and the brown campaign

UPS Launches Biggest, "Brownest" Ad Campaign Ever
"At UPS, Brown Is More Than A Color",1363,3917,00.html

The Role of Color in Establishing Brand Identity
by Cheryl Swanson

?It?s always a good idea for a brand to try to ?own? a color in
people?s minds (e.g. Immediate consumer associations of a color with
the brand ... i.e., Kodak and yellow, Duracell and copper/black) since
people remember color first in the hierarchy of visual memory. Owning
a color affords instant recognition and distinction by consumers in
our highly saturated, complex and competitive brand landscape.?!toniq2.html

M&M's Global Color Vote

?The candy manufacturer will use the official M&M's site to offer
consumers an opportunity to vote on whether the next color introduced
should be pink, purple or aqua.?

?The campaign, called the "Global Color Vote," is the largest
promotion in the 61-year history of the "M&M's" brand, and its first
worldwide marketing effort. Coordinated on- and offline advertising,
public relations, direct and retail efforts will run in 78 countries,
aiming to drive traffic to The site itself will be
available in more than 15 languages, Masterfoods said.

?The winning color will be announced in June, and will begin appearing
in M&M's bags in August.?

"The M&M's brand is the largest candy brand in the world and it speaks
to the global power of the brand to be able to execute a program
across 78 countries," said Masterfoods USA president Paul Michaels.
"Although the foundation of the M&M's Brand is in the United States,
the brand is a global icon and represents colorful, chocolate fun to
consumers throughout the world."

Earthweb News: January 2002

Another article about the M&M's Global Color Vote

The winning M&M color was purple

?More than 10 million consumers from 200-plus countries entered the
M&M's Global Color Vote, which recently concluded when Masterfoods USA
announced purple as the winning color at a gala party in New York
City, reports Promo Xtra. The three-month campaign was the biggest in
the brand's 61-year history.?

?Purple, which garnered 41 percent of the vote (compared with aqua's
38 percent and pink's 19 percent), will be added to M&M's packaging
for a six-month run starting in August. Masterfoods will decide later
if purple gets permanent placement alongside green, red, yellow,
brown, orange and blue-the last of which was added in a similar voting
campaign in 1995.?

The article ?All About Color? by ROCKINGHAM JUTKINS marketing provides
a list of colors, what each one symbolizes and the companies that use

"For many companies, color is synonymous with their name," explained
Herbert. "Think Barbie Pink, UPS Brown, Coca-Cola Red, Home Depot
Orange and 3M Post-It Canary Yellow. To be successful, brands have to
offer consistency and reliability and be distinguishable from other
goods and services. Keeping that color consistent in products,
packaging and communications in every media is imperative to
maintaining the brand's identity, visually reinforcing who they are
and what they do. Many companies even go as far as to trademark their
signature colors."

Search Criteria:
Colors, add campaigns, Mary Kay, UPS, visual branding,
Brands that own colors
color as a brand identity

I hope you find this helpful!  If anything is unclear with my answer,
please ask for clarification.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: pinkfreud-ga on 18 Dec 2003 17:36 PST
Here's something interesting involving two brands, Yellow Cab and Hertz Rent-a-Car:

"Founded by John Hertz in 1915, Yellow Cab is the oldest and largest
cab management and services provider company in the U.S.  Hertz began
with a small stake in a Chicago automobile dealership and successfully
turned it into a profitable business within a year, With the surplus
of used cars that were traded in for new ones at his dealership, he
hit upon an innovative idea-turn these into taxicabs.

John Hertz remained in charge of Yellow Cab until 1929 when he left
the cab business to start another new venture in the rental car
industry. When Hertz left he also took the color yellow which remains
a part of the Hertz Rent-a Car logo."

A bit more about Yellow Cab and the color yellow:

"John Hertz was a tough kid, when he migrated to the United States in
1879, from Ruttka, known today as Czechoslovakia, he was five. At age
11 he ran away from home to sell newspapers. He fought for his
territory. Later he drove a delivery wagon. Then he sold cars for a
living. He later established his new car business. Problem: What will
he do with all those trade-in? He fixed them up and started a taxi
business. Problem: When his drivers experienced too many accidents -
he decided to investigate. Hertz heard about a University of Chicago,
study that revealed that the color Yellow is the easiest color to see.
He then had all his cabs painted, yellow, which reduced the accidents
this was the beginning of the Yellow Cab Company."
Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: lindstrom-ga on 18 Dec 2003 18:16 PST
Hi pinkfreud-ga,
That's a cute story - thanks for that. I've left a reward for you...
Thanks for your help - keep up the good work.

Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Dec 2003 11:40 PST
I'm not quite old enough to remember this one firsthand, but my
parents told me about it many years ago. Lucky Strike cigarettes
provide a great example of a brand's association with a color:

"In 1942, smokers of Lucky Strike Cigarettes noticed a drastic change
to the Lucky Strike packs. Instead of the usual dark green and gold,
the packs were white with red trim. On the bottom of the new packs was
a curious abbreviation, 'L.S./M.F.T.' The reason for the change was
heard on the radio commercials for Lucky Strike.

Like with many other products during World War II, the Lucky Strike
radio commercials would have a patriotic theme. The radio listeners
heard the announcer say, 'Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War.'  What
he meant, the green dye used for the packaging of the Lucky Strike
packs would be used for the war effort. The phrase was heard
frequently on all programs Lucky Strike sponsored at that time." 

(Incidentally, L.S./M.F.T. stood for "Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco.")

"George Washington Hill [president of The American Tobacco Company
from 1925-1946] knew that the green Lucky Strike package didn't appeal
to women, but he needed a reason to change colors. When Hill found out
that there was a shortage of merchant ships able to carry war supplies
to England and Russia, and that older wood hulled ships were being
pressed into service, he had his reason. Copper paint was used to
protect the wooden hulls from marine worm damage, and Hill had just
learned that copper was an ingredient in the ink needed for the gold
bands on the Lucky Strike label. Eureka! George Hill's new 'Lucky
Strike Green Has Gone to War!' advertising campaign touted the fact
that enough bronze (copper and tin alloy) was saved each year to meet
the requirements for 400 light tanks, those "speedy battering-rams of
destruction!" Lord & Thomas, the Chicago advertising agency that
promoted Lucky Strike, received a lot of hate mail because of the
patriotic slogan. Critics felt patriotism was being exploited, but
Lucky Strike sales did go up dramatically. The 'Lucky Strike Green Has
Gone to War!' campaign broke about the same time that American troops
invaded North Africa in November 1942. Six weeks later, Lucky Strike
sales were up 38%."
Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Dec 2003 14:39 PST
Here's a good example of the deliberate association of a brand with a color:

"To build a better self-image of the ladies in relation to what they
enjoy eating, Heinz has launched a ?What is the Power of Red?
advertising campaign for its Smart Ones range, which is targeted at
women who want to feel good about themselves and have the confidence
to wear red. The brand offers a variety of premium and healthy
single-serve frozen meals, including entrees, bowls, desserts and a
line of gourmet pizzas.

Now, according to colour therapists, colours play a significant part
in enhancing a person?s outlook and approach to life. Warm colours
such as yellow brighten a person and cool colours such as blue bring a
sense of tranquility to him. As for the red Smart Ones products, they
scream confidence and boldness.

?Our consumer research has told us that we own the color red in the
nutritional frozen food category,? said Steve McGowan, Senior Brand
Manager, Smart Ones.

?Our packaging and our brand equity have been built over the years
around the ?Lady In Red? concept, which has created a powerful
connection between Smart Ones and the feelings associated with the
color red: energy, joy, control and confidence. We?re excited about
how our new positioning makes this concept even more relevant to our

The advertisements to promote the range, which are developed by DDB
San Francisco, will begin airing September 15 on national broadcast
and cable outlets in the US."
Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: boquinha-ga on 28 Dec 2003 21:03 PST
I just looked up more of your questions, saw this one, and immediately
thought of Target with their red bulls-eye campaign. I've found an
article that discusses how Target Department Stores are looking to
"own" the color red.

"CHICAGO -- The Retail Advertising Council's annual conference and
awards ceremony this year was all about buzz and passion. And Target
Stores, the golden child of the RAC program, was responsible for the
lion's share of the excitement, as senior vp of marketing Michael
Francis delivered a presentation detailing the retailer's prowess in
this area.

Year after year, Target sweeps these awards, and this year, Francis
illustrated not only how, but talked about the company's newest goal:
to own the color red."

It sums up with this:

"According to Francis, these efforts are priceless in their
brand-building contributions. "[Branding] has been an obsession since
1998," he said. "Everything at Target is filtered through its brand
image." Francis also holds the informal title of 'Brand Czar.'"

Would this fit what you seek? Thanks so much!

Subject: Re: Colors in branding
From: lindstrom-ga on 28 Dec 2003 22:00 PST
Pinkfreud-ga and boquinha-ga,
Thanks for your notes. They are both great - a bit late so I'm not 100
per cent sure if I'm going to use them - but just in case I've added a
small reward for your job.

All the best,


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