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  • Milling Bakery Research & Consulting


Carl Jung considered that color "is the native language of the subconscious." Overlooking the importance of subconscious in creating consumers' behavior, the understanding of the "language" in which color speaks to us can not be neglected in carrying out marketing activities. Speaking the language of the subconscious can be one of the most powerful marketing tools ever created by the human being. We intend in this study to identify the most important elements which characterize the use of color in marketing.
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
Ciprian Nicolae POPA1, Stela POPESCU 2, Radiana Maria TAMBA BEREHOIU 2,
1S.C. Farinsan S.A., Grădiştea vilage, Comana commune, Giurgiu district, Romania
Phone:+40 727 27 78 40, Fax: +40318156038, Email:
2University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Bucharest
59 Marasti, sector 1, 011464, Bucharest, Romania, Phone: +40 21 318 25 64/232,
Fax: + 40 21318 28 88, E-mail:;
3The Faculty of Marketing, The Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, Romana Square, 6
Stanislav Cihoschi Street, District 1, Bucharest,
Corresponding author :
Key words : brand, color, marketing
Carl Jung considered that color "is the native language of the subconscious." Overlooking the importance of
subconscious in creating consumers’ behavior, the understanding of the "language" in which color speaks to us can
not be neglected in carrying out marketing activities. Speaking the language of the subconscious can be one of the
most powerful marketing tools ever created by the human being. We intend in this study to identify the most
important elements which characterize the use of color in marketing.
Color is a significant element, both of our
daily life, but also of the ancestral life. The
human being appeared and evolved in a
colorful environment.
Trademark can be made in words or in
combined pictures. It seems that the marks
represented in words are read faster and are
stored more easily. Besides the brand symbol,
color is the second element in identifying
packaging in the whole world.
Use of color in marketing messages has been
the subject of certain scientifical studies,
existing an extensive experience of the use of
color for most popular brands.
In the present study, we aimed to identify the
most important arguments that support the use
of color in marketing.
There have been extensively studied several
bibliographical sources in the fields of
marketing, psychology, sociology, and
Several researchers have studied the influence
of color on human and animal behavior.
Harry Wohlfarth and Catharine Sam
(University of Alberta) showed that 14
children (8-14 years old) with severe
disabilities and behavioral disorders, had
diminished blood pressure and aggression
level, as a consequence of interchanging
yellow and blue with orange, white, beige and
brown and replaceing the neon light with the
total spectrum light [22].
Rose H. Alschuler and Berta Weiss Hattwick
concluded by studying the drawings of young
children, that blue color implies self control
and repression of emotions, red color is
uninhibited expression, yellow color indicates
infantilism and dependence, green color
shows balance, few emotional impulses and a
simple nature [1].
Faber Birren used to associate warm and cold
colors of the spectrum with human
personality. Heat means the contact with the
environment, and cold means the withdrawal
in itself. Thus red color excites, blue color
calms. Also, complementarity exists on the
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
physical and physiological level. Red color
increases blood pressure, stimulates the
nervous system, while green and blue colors
relaxe [4,5].
Jaensch shows that people are classified into
two categories, namely: more sensitive to hot
end of the spectrum and less sensitive to the
cold end [19].
The identity of a brand is fixed in memory by
associative mechanisms. This is evident in
global companies: British Petroleum (green),
Hershey's Chocolate (brown), Cadburys
Chocolate (purple), Kodak (yellow), Coca
Cola (red), Tide (orange) and John Deere
(green) (Figure 1).
Fig. 1 The color in the identitity of some
global brands
Emotions generated by the symbolism of
colors are different in different populations
and cultures. It is necessary a careful analysis
of the attitudes of the target audience at the
beginning of any construction based on color
marketing. A publication from the year 2000
revealed the perception method of color in
different countries and cultures. It has been
pointed out that blue is the favorite in 5 of 8
countries, while in the other three countries,
blue is on second place [17].
Another example shows that white color
symbolizes mourning in Eastern Asia, but
happiness and purity in Australia, New
Zealand and the U.S.
Blue is the most popular color in the U.S. and
most often used by corporates. It is perceived
as cold and demonic in Eastern Asia, as warm
in the Netherlands, as cold in Sweden. Blue
symbolizes death in Iran, purity in India. It
shows femininity in Belgium and the
Netherlands, but masculinity in Sweden and
the USA [17].
There are two schools with separate views, on
the reaction of human behavior on color. The
first, represented by Humphrey (1976) and
Grossman (1999), argues that reactions to
colors are instinctual. The second school
argues that the reaction to color is related to
associative learning [17].
Other studies have shown that demographic
factors such as age, sex, ethnic origin, must be
taken into consideration regarding the
communication through color .
The colors and contrasts decrease in intensity
in the areas with very bright sun. For
example, people living at the equator have a
better sight, due to a larger number of rod
cells on retina. These people have an
increased intraocular yellow pigment,
resulting in a reduced power of differentiating
the color shades (reduced blue color
perception). Populations from northern
latitudes, where light is less reflected directly,
have a better color acuity. It can be explained
psychologically why different populations
respond differently to stimulation by color.
Color is present everywhere and becomes a
source of information. People interact with
people and objects in approx. 90 seconds, 62-
90% of this process being based solely on
color. So, use of color can contribute not only
to differentiate brands, but also influences
buyer's feelings (positively or negatively) and
finally the buyer's attitude towards the
product. It is necessary for managers to
understand the importance of color in
marketing, as feelings and moods are unstable
and color plays an important role in shaping
attitudes [18].
The Seoul International Color Expo 2004
secretary emphasized that 92.6% of buyers
consider color as the most important, when
purchasing a product. Only 5.6% of the
questioned people considered sense of touch
as most important, and 0.9% smell as the most
important factor. In assessing the importance
of color to purchase, 84.7% respondents
considered that color is more important than
50% [25].
The Henley Centre researches suggest that
73% of the product purchase decision takes place
in the store, and a study of the University of
Loyola (Maryland) showed that color determines
brand recognition by 80%.
Color improves the marketing object activity and
influences the behavior of target audiences. For
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
example, many fast food restaurants are
decorated in vivid shades of red and orange,
which encourage food consumption rapidly,
by increasing consumers’ local transit. Intense
red and black colors are also used in websites’
design for adults, because they have erotic
connotations and stimulate sexuality. Sites
and books for children are constructed with
blocks with bright primary colors. Children
respond better to them, than in case of using
color mixtures.
The University of British Columbia study on
600 subjects showed that red color helps
increasing attention at work, while blue
enhances creativity. The red group responded
better on tests of "attention" and the blue
group subjects responded better to " creativity
and imagination tests ".
However, the association of colors with a
certain meaning can not be standardized. In
general, communities react differently to a
particular color, based on the cultural
experiences. Also, everybody has a personal
attitude towards color. For example, choosing
the makeup color depends on skin tone. Dark-
skinned people prefer bright and warm
lipstick colors and those with light skin prefer
softer colors. High tech products (MP3
players, mobile phones, consoles etc) are
more attractive in fancy colors. The living
standard may influence the preference for a
color: bright colors attract low-income
shoppers, while high income earners prefer
more sober colors. Observation is applied in
the SEB marketing strategy (Rowenta,
Moulinex and SEB).
The beverages packed in red glass can make a
brand stronger than blue packaging, and elder
people prefer more sober colors. Thus,
mineral water brand " Badoit " (owned by
Danone) was launched in the new red bottles
in 2004, in France. This color was completely
new, unusual for mineral water market. Use of
red color attracted young consumers, who
were searching the original. Sales increased in
the following six months, reaching the market
share of 3%.
According to Marc Jacheet, director of the
aerated waters department, quoted by Capital
France, the red color of the glass container
Badoit was validated after a year of testing on
consumers in stores. Red color evokes the
power of bubbles and gives a slightly
transgressive imagine [3].
Other studies emphasized the effect of colors
on consumers’ behavior. Those who buy on
impulse respond well to red, orange, black
and royal blue. Buyers purchasing after a plan
and a budget respond best to pink, turquoise,
light blue and navy. Traditionalists respond
well to pastels: pink, blue skies.
Jaguar site is based on silver (prestige) and
black (sophistication). The market of the firm
is oriented towards high-income and great
itself image people, seeking for a vehicle to
provide prestige to them [24].
Color influences brand identity in many ways.
Thus, we have seen phenomenal success of
Heinz EZ Squirt Blastin 'Green ketchup, ie
more than 10 million doses sold in the first
seven months from the day of changing the
color of the packaging, and sales of 23 million
dollars. An interesting case is that of Apple
Computer, which introduced color on a
market where it was not used. Selling colorful
iMac computers has led to a renewed brand,
which had already suffered losses of $ 1.8
billion in two years.
Colored ads are 42% more read than black
and white ads [21].
Color can increase the number of readers by
40%, learning ability from 55 to 78% and
comprehension by 73% [8, 10, 6].
Tests have shown that black and white images
can sustain interest for less than two-thirds of
a second, while colored images can retain
attention for two seconds or more. People can
not process visually each object in their visual
field. For this reason, the color can also be
used to highlight a particular product.
A study made by Xerox Corporation
revealed that 92% of respondents think that
the presence of color determines the quality of
an image to impress, 90% think that color can
attract new customers, 90% think that the
audience remembers best color presentations
and documents, 83 % that color gives an
appearance of success.
Every year, Cooper Marketing Group leads
a national research in the United States on the
colors preferred by American consumers, and
sells the results to manufacturers and retailers
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
of clothing, automobile manufacturers or
producers of household furniture.
This study involved 400 000 people, from a
representative sample of the U.S. population.
Consumers should answer different questions
about preference for colors, such as: "What
color is the car you want to buy?", "What is
the color of clothing that you like to wear?"
etc. Results obtained by Cooper Marketing
Group allowed the classification of
consumers into three categories, named "color
lifestyle groups". The first category, called
"The Color Forward group" includes
progressive-minded consumers who want to
try everything that is new and are prepared to
spend more money for this. This group is
dominated by women under 30 or over 50,
men under 30 years, urban population, and
impulsive buyers who earn less than 35,000
dollars per year.
The second group "The Color Prudent group"
consists of people who buy a new color only
after it has been tested by their entourage.
They frequently consider the product quality
before color. This group generally consists of
men and women aged between 30 and 50
years of pre-urban environment, attentive and
caring buyers, who earn over $ 50,000 per
The third group (The Color Loyal Group)
acquires "safe" colors, validated their
experience of life: blue, gray, black colors
rather than "trendy". This group includes men
over 60 years of pre-urban or rural areas,
people who dislike shopping [11].
When manufacturers decide the color chosen
for a particular product, they must first
analyze the group to which the color is
addressed. Marketing Cooper concluded that
the first group (Color Forward) is the smallest
and also the most influential group of
consumers. Prudent buyers group is the
largest segment of consumers, while those
loyal group is characterized as "small and
predictable" [20].
Public preferences about a particular color can
be correlated with the events that marked it.
Piirto and Montague (1997) consider that
wearing metallic fabrics, specific to disco
generation, were due mainly to the publicity
generated by the exhibition dedicated to the
artifacts of the Tutankamon pharaoh, which
was hosted between 1976 and 1979 by The
Metropolitan Art Museum, exhibition visited
by over eight million people, as Wikipedia
Black color's popularity in the 80s was
influenced by the personality of Villain and
Darth Vader in "Star Wars" and green,
another popular color in those years, was
maintained in trend by the environmental
concerns which have began to emphasize at
that time [26]. Periods of economic growth or
recession influence people masses attitudes
towards black. Economic growth leads to an
increased appetite for "trendy" colors, while
the recession makes people more lonely,
withdrawn, inclined to classic colors (blue,
gray, black) [7].
B.J. Eichorn, president of BJ’s Lifecode
Merchandising had to consider how to
decorate two bowling alleys, in a specific
location. She noticed that most customers who
used the two tracks could be divided into two
categories: those who belonged among
workers and considered this work to be very
serious, and those who belonged to the higher
income class, who were playing bowling only
for pleasure, relaxation and exercise.
Then she redecorated one of the tracks with
triangles (suggesting energy) and used
specific colors to southwestern U.S. (peach,
green) and the other with curved style 'Art
Deco', using complex color schemes. After
this redecoration revenues for both tracks
have soared.
Children tend to respond more directly to
color than adults. For most children, the color
of food is even more important than taste.
Dave Siegal, general manager of Small Talk,
a research company in Cincinnati, Ohio, said
in 1991: "Children love neon colors, green
and yellow topping the list". Siegal assigned
children’s preference for green-neon color to a
popular show for kids in America
(Nickelodeon's) [7].
Sometimes not only color helped creating a
successful product, but also the name.
Renaming the color of "off white" in "ancient
silk" resulted in doubling sales for a paint
company. A name such as yellow-sulfur is
clearly disgraceful and uncommercial, while
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
the association of this with egg yoke,
canaries’ color, or citrine can bring great
benefits. Leatrice Eiseman, color specialist
designer and director of the Paton Color
Institute, says that "when you name a color,
you should choose something romantic. It is
not the same thing to tell someone that you
painted your room in 36485 color or to tell
you painted it pink "angel wings" [9].
Ripolin paint manufacturer ranked in two
years, 200 references to his products, not after
use (bathrooms, rooms, etc.), but after their
effects on customers. The main range of
paints of the company, baptized Colorterapia,
includes 7 parts: from the "moderate" - shades
of green, and "tonic" (shades of yellow), to
"soothing", characterized by dark red or pale
pink tones. The concept of "caught" and brand
awareness increased from 28% to 34% in a
few months, amounting to today 11% of the
french market7. Company officials concluded
after this experience was that crisp, bright
colors are sold best.
The importance of color in building brand
identity led to specific enforcement of
trademark protection. Registration of colors as
own brand color is however difficult.
Companies must be able to prove that it is
different in relation to the original
commodity. Some colors, such as those used
to mark certain drugs, can not be recorded.
For a color to be "profitable" in financial
terms, it should not have any connection with
the recognized characteristics of the product.
It could not record yellow color for banana
juice, or red color for tomato juice because it
had nothing distinctive. Instead, promoting
purple color for Cadbury, which does not
remind anything about the product origin or
quality, requires a substantial financial effort
to create a link in consumer's minds between
chocolate and lilac color. At that time the
color becomes profitable, and also becomes a
right to be defended. "[9].
The best color for a product cannot always be
easily identified. In 1950, Procter &
Gamble, manufacturer of detergent "Cheer"
decided to introduce splashes of color in
detergent. There have been produced several
boxes of detergent stained red, blue or yellow.
Consumers reported that detergent with
yellow spots did not clean enough the clothes;
some consumers even stated that detergent
with red spots destroys laundry.
Detergent with blue spots was the only one
who has been associated with a high cleaning
capacity. Blue stained detergent helped
"Cheer" to become one of the brands with the
highest life expectancy on the market [7].
Assigning a color to a particular product is
always doomed to success. If Blu Pepsi
became notorious, blue soda bottle is a
resounding failure of the company in
Romania. It is not singular, however: Nestle
made a wrong choice five years ago with
yogurt or LC1, created to compete Bio from
Danone and presented in a gray metallic
glass. "Many consumers have assimilated the
product to a medicine". Brice Auckenthaler
from marketing consultancies Experts
Consulting explained this situation in 2005,.
Each color has its own symbolism and can not
be used randomly, or applied to any product.
Ketchup, for example, is associated with the
red color of tomatoes. A record that Heinz has
understood quite late. His green Ketchup,
proved successful in the U.S., launched in
Europe in 2001, did not work. Similarly,
Romanians refused ketchup from Tommy [3].
Basically, color in shops identifies flavors,
brands or products: green suggests the pine
for a detergent; as for a toothpaste, green
suggests the minty effect, white suggests no
additives, red is associated with cherries,
strawberries and apples. Brown and gray are
less used like they are, as they are considered
depressing and somber, but in addition to red
can give a sense of weight and strength,
attracting strong and stable customers. Certain
colors can convey a message of strength and
confidence (burgundy, light blue, purple,
pearl) [16].
1. The emotional effect generated by color
symbolism varies significantly between
populations and cultures, depending on
demographic factors such as age, gender and
ethnicity. It requires a careful analysis of
public attitudes toward color target in the
Scientific Papers Series Management , Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development
ISSN 1844-5640
marketing activity based on this parameter.
2. Association of colors with a particular
meaning, regarding the marketing message
can not be standardized. In general,
communities react differently to a particular
color, according to their cultural experiences.
However, there is also a personal attitude
toward color, connected with makeup shade
selection, depending on skin color.
3. Public preferences related to a particular
color can be made in relation to the events
that marked it.
4. Assigning a a color to a product at random,
it is not always doomed to success. Each color
has its own symbolism and can not be used
randomly, or applied to any product.
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Marketing Communications, October
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... 2 In greater Asia too, the colour white carries a dual symbolism. In East Asian cultures, for instance, white represents death and mourning (Popa et al. 2013;Akcay, Dalgin, and Bhatnagar 2011). Yet it is one of the colours that is liked in places like Japan, China and Indonesia as well (Saito 1996). ...
Full-text available
In this paper, I show that immigration consulting agencies in the Doaba region of Punjab, India, mobilise the imaginary of the ‘West’ as a place to be successful and modern in order to sell their services. My focus is on the design of promotional materials created by the agencies that are well integrated into the visual landscape of this region. Thus I analyse this imaginary as presented in banners, posters, and signboards. The visual data is complemented with semi structured interviews conducted with staff and owners at the agencies, ethnographic observations as well as information gleaned from the agencies’ websites. The study is novel in its exploration of the visual environment in pre-migration contexts where international migration is portrayed as a central path to prosperity. It is exploratory in nature and raises many questions for future researchers to pursue.
... Consequently, nutritional traffic light colours are expected to have a greater influence on the affective and behavioural response of high-income consumers than low-income consumers, BFJ who will presumably be more concerned by aspects like price. In fact, Popa et al. (2013) point out that the effect of colours on emotions varies according to socio-demographic aspects. ...
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyse how the nutritional traffic light can reduce consumers’ intention to purchase unhealthy food by eliciting negative emotions (i.e. fear and guilt). The work also examines the moderating role of income in the above-mentioned relationships. Design/methodology/approach The empirical study was conducted in Ecuador. In an initial phase, exploratory research was carried out with two focus groups. Then a quasi-experiment was conducted with 330 participants following a 3×2 design, in which the nutritional traffic light for a dairy product (green, yellow, red) and the variable income (high and low income) were manipulated. Findings Traffic light colours (red, yellow and green) significantly influence consumers’ levels of fear and guilt as well as their intention to purchase. Income has also been found to have a moderating effect on the above relationships. Practical implications Further understanding of how nutritional labels influence consumer behaviour may have beneficial effects for public authorities attempting to improve citizens’ health and for society as a whole. It may also help firms that produce and market packaged foods to be aware of what type of foods new consumers want and adapt their offering in consequence. Originality/value The main contribution of this work is the analysis of the influence of the nutritional traffic light on emotions, namely, fear and guilt and how these emotions lead consumers to control their consumption of unhealthy foods. In addition, the present work proposes the moderating effect of income on the influence of colour on emotions and purchase intention.
Marketers, advertisers and graphic artists agree that the effects of color on the consumer certainly can help facilitate the exchange process. Studies have shown how color can grab and retain attention, can stimulate emotional responses, can affect an individual's perception, can form attitudes, and improve learning and persuasiveness. Color is influential at every level of the marketplace, from brand logo, image, signage, display, packaging, and even the product itself. Color exercises very strong effects plus induces reactions in individuals based on both instincts and associations. This paper will review research and literature on the psychological and socio-cultural association and meaning of color in a cross cultural context. It will present evidence that people of various cultures and/or geographic areas possess disparate perceptions and response to color which will support research demonstrating that our response to color is both physiological and learned.
This study tested the effects of red and blue in a shopping-related context. Red and blue were selected because of their opposite color properties. Prior color research has shown that red is perceived as negative and tense as well as physically arousing. Blue, on the other hand, has been identified as calm, cool, and positive. Two laboratory experiments were conducted. In both experiments, retail environments were simulated using predominately red or blue colors. Both experiments corroborate the differential effects of red and blue that prior research suggested. Specifically, more positive retail outcomes occurred in blue rather than red environments. More simulated purchases, fewer purchase postponements, and a stronger inclination to shop and browse were found in blue retail environments. The second experiment helps to identify a plausible explanation to color effects. The results indicate that the affective perception of color rather than the arousal dimension of color may be responsible for the outcome. The positive effects of blue and the negative perception of red may have influenced the results. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Painting and personality, a study of young children
  • H Alschuler
  • Hattwick W Rose
  • Berta
Alschuler H. Rose, Hattwick W. Berta, 1947, Painting and personality, a study of young children... [by] Rose H. Alschuler & La Berta Weiss Hattwic, Chicago, The University of Chicago press
Background Color Vs. Profitability,
  • Brausch James
  • Marketing Study
Brausch James, Marketing Study: Background Color Vs. Profitability,
The Color of Money May Actually Be Fuchsia
  • Cooper Mimi
Cooper Mimi, 1994, The Color of Money May Actually Be Fuchsia, Discount Merchandiser, May
The Persuasive Properties of Color, Marketing Communications
  • David Embry
Embry, David, 1984, The Persuasive Properties of Color, Marketing Communications, October
Color Me Pale Banana
  • Frost Dan
Frost Dan, 1995, Color Me Pale Banana, American Demographics, Oct.