The potent effects of colour on brands


Colour is a driver of brand awareness and is inextricably tied into a brand’s visual language, argues an industry expert in a new WARC paper. With the rise of visual social media platforms such as Instagram, brands need to be aware of its impact.

This is according to a new article on WARC, Colour and the ‘Instagramisation’ of alcohol brands, by Michael Scantlebury, Founder and Director at the ad agency Impero.

At its core, Scantlebury writes, colour is an identifier, “the thing that becomes familiar with consumers; it’s often the thing they look for on signage, on-shelf or anywhere they have to search it out.”

In the food and drink space, colour is particularly important as it pertains to Instagram, where ‘food porn’ is one of the biggest interests on the platform. For restaurants, it is crucial: According to research by restaurant chain Zizzi, 30% of 18 – 35 year olds would avoid a restaurant if their Instagram presence is weak.

The alcohol market has also been influenced particularly heavily by new considerations around colour, especially in spirits. For instance, Aperol, the aperitif which is bright orange in colour enjoyed 27% sales growth in the first quarter of 2019 alone – images of people enjoying the drink are quickly recognisable through its colour on Insta.

“Here comes the inconvenient truth, it’s the colour and the serve that makes it instagrammable. If it were a clear spirit, in a standard glass, it would probably still be battling for share of voice – even if it tasted exactly the same”, he argues.

“When trendy people sit outside a trendy cafe drinking this trendy orange drink – what do you think is going on inside the heads of onlookers? They’re not wondering about the heritage of Aperol – more often than not, they’re not even wondering what it tastes like. They’re happy to find that out later. They want to be part of the moment, and part of the trend.”

He points to a recent campaign for Pernod Ricard-owned Beefeater London Dry Gin, which recently brought out a pink variant with a strawberry flavour. Collateral would be pink, intended to cut through drab environments.

Scantlebury’s team took over Oxford Circus underground station’s OOH media on platforms and in hallways to establish itself in one of the city’s busiest interchanges. “Utilising an innovative printing technique that infused posters with scented ink, we brought pink to life sensorially, with the smell of wild strawberries, creating TFL’s first-ever scented underground station campaign.”

The campaign not only increased awareness but drove trials significantly, leading to strong sales growth.

This article first appeared in

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