The Experience of Color

Source: Velectronica

When Heinz released its EZ Squirt Blastin’ Green ketchup, the company sold more than 10 million bottles in the first seven months, leading to the highest sales increase in its brand history. Though a novelty item, the change in color was significant enough to pique shopper interest and drive revenue through the roof. The company didn’t tamper with the bold red ketchup their consumers knew and loved, but rather created a temporary line extension of colored ketchup that would get people to sit up and take notice.

A study on the impact of color in marketing by Satyendra Singh from the University of Winnipeg cites that “people make up their minds within 90 seconds of their initial interactions with either people or products” with anywhere between 62 and 90 percent of the assessment influenced by color alone.

The challenge with color is that the meaning of hues and shades are dependent not only on culture, but also on preconceived notions in our subconscious. To quote art historian and philosopher Rene Huyghe, “from the moment the sensation comes into consciousness it is connected in time with what no longer exists except in memory. The sensation of color does not just affect our psychology at the time when it occurs, it connects with all of our experience in time.”

Though plenty has been written about the affects of color in packaging and the symbolism tied to its use in branding, what is being done about the individual experience of color specific to time and place? With companies expanding globally, yet audiences demanding increasingly personalized goods and services, how do brands deliver color in the Now? Will we one day walk into stores that change their hues depending on the temperature outside? Or will the color used in advertising match the color combinations that we wear? Here are some examples for thought.


IBM’s billboard changes color depending on what you’re wearing to send the message that innovative technology can help companies create unique experiences that drive growth.

St Martins Lane Hotel


At St Martins Lane Hotel in London, hotel rooms have interactive mood lighting in the form of color wheels in which you can manipulate to match the shade of your mood.


HBO Shop Interactive Snow Window from Sosolimited on Vimeo.

During the holiday season, HBO installed a retail window display in New York’s Times Square that changed color in response to street traffic.