It’s purple season

June 3, 2014

May is probably my favorite month of the year because of the profusion of purple blossoms lining many streets here in Santa Monica. The jacaranda trees are in full bloom and create cascading canopies of color that delight me every time I’m lucky enough to be on a street where the jacarandas dominate the landscape. I think of this time of year as “purple season.”

Purple road

Driving down 11th Street recently – enjoying the “purpleness” – got me to thinking about the use of color in a brand’s identity system and how some companies do it really well and others miss the mark. Here are a few of my favorites:

JetBlue is a brand that does it right. They effectively utilize the blue color scheme throughout their many brand touch points – from their planes to their terminals – from their website to the annual report. Where it’s appropriate, they have fun with their system in keeping with their brand personality, and when the communications is of a more serious nature, they adjust appropriately.

Another brand that stands out is Wonderful Pistachios. This brand – known for its humor and irreverence – became a national name Fall 2009 with its’ eight headline grabbing Get Crackin’ commercials. The commercials featured eight newsmakers demonstrating how they crack open a pistachio in their own unique, tongue-in-cheek. The commercials were fun but most memorable for me was the use of pistachio green color throughout the campaign. From Dara Torres’ pistachio-green piped swimsuit and toe nails to the pistachio green settee that Christopher Knight – The Brady Bunch – and his newlywed wife Adrianne Curry lounged on feeding each other pistachios, it was clear this was a brand who knew how to use their brand’s color to extend memorability. It carries forth today in the Stephen Colbert commercials – have you seen Freedom the eagle’s bow tie – their website, in-store POS, etc.

A few years back it struck me how well Special K was using its’ red throughout their consumer touch points. Of course, the large K on their packages has been red for as long as I can remember. But they started giving the red center stage in their commercials – clothing, accessories – brought it to life in their onscreen communications, their events, etc. It’s an empowering choice that serves the brand essence well.

What brands do you think use color particularly effectively – or not – as part of their overall identity system?

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