Marketers think pink! Radiant Orchid Pantone Color of the Year

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It used to be that the only persons who were excited about the Pantone Color of the Year were design geeks (like us here at Illumine8) and fashion mavens. Now, everyone seems to be in on the action. Released today, Pantone has crowned the color of the year for 2014: Radiant Orchid. 

Radiant Orchid is part of the purple family of colors, but has a lot of pink undertones. According to Ken Downing, the fashion director for Neiman Marcus, Radiant Orchid is the “It color for spring…It’s pink”. From the horses mouth at Pantone, Radiant Orchid “blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is expressive, creative and embracing purple - one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health” 

Wow, if the prediction for 2014 is anything like the description of the color of the year - we are in for great one!

So what does this mean for the rest of us? 

Pantone color of the year used to limited to fashion and graphic design. You can expect lots of bright pinks and purples on the store racks as the “color of the year” has become popular among haute couture to target racks. According to Jill Stanton, Old Navy’s executive Vice President, you can expect radiant orchid tops and dresses at Old Navy’s consumer friendly prices come June and July. The color will extend to your home furnishings (though we expect orchid will not invade the “man cave” unless in the form of Baltimore Raven’s or Minnesota Vikings apparel) and even to your appliances. Crave a Radiant Orchid coffee maker? Keurig offers a single serving model available in February.  

How is the color of year chosen?

Pantone is owned by Washington, D.C. -based Danaher Corporation - who each year polls those in the know in the following industries:

  • Graphic Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Fashion
  • Manufacturers
  • Retailers

From those surveys, sales of color swatches and expert opinions  a color committee of Pantone executives and clients pick the color of the year. Then the color is tested in focus groups - yes it’s true, us marketers ask you how you feel about a pink coffee maker. Testers are asked how they feel about the color, if its a realistic color for durable goods such as appliances and like. The last thing a manufacture would want is a warehouse full of clearance pink coffee machines.

Ladies can look forward to pink and purple make-up selections. Pantone has capitalized on the popularity of its color machine by parenting with companies like Sephora to bring you official “color of the year” cosmetics including nail varnishes, eye liners and even lipsticks. We will admit to falling victim to purchases of Emerald products this year - as Emerald ruled the day as the 2013 color of the year.

Upon reading the official press release and subsequent news coverage from the Today Show to even the Wall Street Journal, we have noticed a trend. While Radiant Orchid is in the purple family, it is definitely referenced as a “pink” color in most reports.

What does this mean for Marketing Professionals?

We all are acutely aware that marketing messaging is only as good as the copy writer and the colors chosen by the designer to present it... otherwise the best marketing strategies fall apart simply due to poor presentation. Marketing simply isn't successful with wallflower strategies and we are thrilled for another bright inspiring color from Pantone to add to our palate. Illumine8 is looking forward to capitalizing on this energizing new color in 2014.

With exclamations “Think Pink!” marketers should be pleased with another eye-catching color choice from the minds at Pantone. Take a cue from Ms. Prescott:

Red is dead, blue is through,
Green's obscene, brown's taboo.
And there is not the slightest excuse for plum or puce
or chartreuse.
Think pink!

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