Spring Colors: Marketing to Dye for?

Color seems to take on special properties this time of year. As the pollen filters everything in a sickly yellow light, marketing takes on new shades of garishness. There are the leftover chocolate Easter chicks, quacking loudly in their foil packaging; the Hamrick’s circulars advertising every shade of pastel pantsuit — even Columbia’s grayest lady, The State, is boasting ads that punch up spring colors.

In a state that has no tolerance for winter, pastel marketing is a natural yearning. Even Brad Warthen’s Blog boasted a cheery jelly bean visual this week! We’re ready for change – it’s time for renewal, revitalization and a fresh outlook. But if you’re not a blogger who can change visuals on the fly – if you’re printing that one brochure that will have to last an entire year – how will all those Kelly greens and baby pinks look in October?

While it’s important to stay in touch with the seasons, subtle, sophisticated color is always a better bet for business. “Color and brand identity are inextricably linked,” explained Cheryl Swanson in a recent How interview. “…..Much of our work has been to educate marketers that color is a strategic tool … not a mere decorative whim.”

Unless you’re in a high-fashion industry (or have the staff and discretionary ad budget to alter your image every quarter), it’s generally better to focus on building a brand for all seasons.

It’s easy to let our emotions trick us into thinking that seasonal color schemes are the next big thing – after all, they reflect the new hues we’re seeing in nature. But that’s precisely how I would with up a show-stopping school bus yellow coat last season …. It looks great for the month of March but is out of commission for the rest of the year. Don’t let your branding meet the same fate as a hatched robin’s egg – it’s the baby bird that has the staying power.


It's 3 am… Do You Know Where Your Fear Monger Is?

Move over Reagan’s bear and LBJ’s mushroom cloud — there’s a new symbol of fear-monger marketing in town. Clinton’s “red phone” ad, which ensures death at the hands of her opponent if he’s elected, is a new low from an old play book. After all, it was crafted by expert scaremeister Roy Spence — the same guy who made Walter Mondale’s “red phone” ad against Gary Hart in 1984. Continue reading