In marketing forget green, think red.
Red is one of the most eye grabbing colours, because deep down we associate it with danger (warning signs), love (hearts), passion (roses), anger (red face), energy (Red Bull) and excitement (Ferrari).
It is one of the most popular colours for logos (Argos, Nike, Illy, Brand Republic) and often used in advertising to draw the eye – how great would those Economist ads be if they’d used pink or purple?
In food marketing, red is believed to increase appetite, so is commonly used by fast food brands (KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut).
In sports it’s associated with Manchester United and Arsenal. Research has shown that if a goalkeeper wears red, there’s less chance of scoring a goal.
In politics it’s the colour of socialism, communism and revolution.
In charity the Project Red Initiative, launched by U2’s Bono, was a global fund to fight AIDS. One of many brands that supported it was American Express, others included Nike, Starbucks, GAP and Apple. The Amex Red card managed to attract an audience (the Chelsea set) they had previously failed to recruit any other way.
In nature it is a colour that is the most popular for flowers, from roses to geraniums as it attracts insects. It is also a warning colour for toadstools (poison) or ladybirds (to scare off predators).
The red spots of the ‘fly agaric’ contains aspirin and was used by warriors in ancient times to remove pain. However, the plant also contains an hallucinogenic, so if you are looking to improve your imagination…
The red & white ‘polka dot’ design, named after the dance, goes back to 1854 but is popular in fashion and pops up at regular intervals during the 50s and 60’s. During the 80’s and 90’s Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera made it her signature element in her designs, but recently the pop band The Pipettes created a revival.
Japanese artist, Yayoi Kusama also used it as a signature in her work – recently she covered trees along the South Bank with polka dot fabric.
Red is also the colour of Christmas and Santa Claus. Many believe that the red of Santa’s outfit comes from Coca-Cola advertising during the 1930’s that used the character dressed in red. (In history he’d often been shown in both red and green.)
Red is the colour that gets most attention, but it’s not the only way. Of course if you are a marketer, getting attention is essential, which is why it’s important to think differently and be more imaginative than the competition.