Saturday, December 6, 2008

To Love the Color Green Means

Generally it implies nature, peace or money but looking around recently it seems more likely to signify nothing more than a marketing campaign making use of a color we are beginning to more strongly identify with. According to Kate Smith, founder of Sensational Color:

Green occupies more space in the spectrum visible to the human eye and is second only to blue as a favorite color. Green is the pervasive color in the natural world that is an ideal backdrop in interior design because we are so used to seeing it everywhere.

The natural greens, from forest to lime, are seen as tranquil and refreshing, with a natural balance of cool and warm (blue and yellow) undertones. Green is considered the color of peace and ecology. However, there is an "institutional" side to green, associated with illness or Government-issued that conjure up negative emotions as do the "slimy" or bilious greens.

How the color green effects us physically and mentally
* Soothing
* Relaxing mentally as well as physically
* Helps alleviate depression, nervousness and anxiety
* Offers a sense of renewal, self-control and harmony

Soothing, relaxing, harmony…? What advertising executive would not want to use those tactics to reel us in?

The color green is being used for advertising everything from theme parks to cooking oil and everything in between. Do not get me wrong, it is wonderful that the color is becoming one that moves to the forefront; people are beginning to associate it with more than just the color of the tree but ensuring that same tree remains strong and standing as well.

Environmental protections and the services and products that accompany those industries do tend to use this color as the subliminal call to action -- the advertisement is green, green = Green, this is an eco-friendly product, consumer clicks. I have heard friends ask, with surprise in their tone as they point at their magazine page, “That’s environmental?” because the color green being used in the slick. My hope is that consumers are not tricked into purchasing products or services they think are eco-friendly simply because of the use of the color green.

To avoid being sucked into a marketing ploy the most important thing we can do as consumers is educate ourselves. Learn the definitions of green terminology, research the product on its website or through the Better Business Bureau and determine for ourselves what the environmental correlation is, if any. If there are two vehicle advertisements side by side, both featuring green as a prominent color we can look for the word Hybrid or the mpg of each of the vehicles to determine which, if either, are the more environmentally conscious choice.

Identifying with the color green is certainly fantastic, so using it in marketing just makes sense. It is us as consumers who must be diligent in determining which of these products and services are the ones that meet the environmental needs we possess and are not just there to play on our eco-open minds.


kim* said...

the po pos look good :)

Ginger said...

i've been noticing a lot of advertising and product labels lately that are using green to imply an eco-friendly nature regarding the product in question. i can only imagine how many people assume or subliminally connect the color with a "that's the best product choice" snap decision without having all of the facts.

when i was in health care - way back when, we were required to wear green or teal scrub tops because of the calming and healing effect of the color. that was the first time i'd ever heard of color therapy. this post reminded me of those days.

High Desert Diva said...

Great post!