What does your colour say about you?

Colour is an important cue in advertising. Red means activity, passion and intensity. Blue is associated with confidence, trust and understanding. Black (I know it’s not a colour) expresses formality and luxury. Yellow represents joy and energy. But Green? It probably has the strongest association, and that is health and nature.


Green is the go-to colour when it comes to healthy products. Nothing says healthy as clearly as green. In fact, nature even agrees with this assertion. Zucchini, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Capsicums and Apples are all green (most of the time). As a result, it has become a long-standing connotation that green reflects healthy. Until now . . .

Consumers aren’t as gullible as some organisations assume. Even the big soft drink brands with their hordes of brand-loyal fans have limits as to how easy some marketing is for consumers to digest. And this is something that Coke and Pepsi are learning right now.

2013 was a disappointing year for the major soft drink brands. Consumers became more health conscious carefully considering what they were putting in their body. However, despite sales lagging in their flagship products, both of these companies noticed sizeable shifts with consumers moving towards their water and low-calorie offerings. This clearly highlights an appealing future venture for these companies.

With consumers highly aware of the impacts from consuming artificial sweeteners, both organisations have moved towards “healthier” products. Coca-Cola Life hit the shelves in Britain and the US two months ago with Pepsi not far behind releasing their Pepsi True. Both of these products are naturally sweetened with the recent all-natural alternative, Stevia.

So what is the link? Colours and Soft Drink? Well, it all becomes clear in their latest packaging.

To reach these health conscious demographics with their new offerings, the soft drink giants have employed the tried-and-true philosophy of matching the product attributes with the appropriate colour. That’s right. Coca-Cola and Pepsi now come in green.

Situated among all the reds and blues currently sitting on the shelves, there is no doubt that these green products will stand out above the rest as a healthier options. And it would certainly be very tempting for guilty Coke and Pepsi drinkers who are looking for a healthier option rather than kicking the habit. But will it entice anyone back from water?

I doubt it.

If a consumer has made the conscious decision to step away from the soft drink market and into the water market – as a number of their consumers have done in the last twelve months – it would take an awful lot of convincing to return. I also don’t believe that it is that easy to trick a customer. We are all aware of these kinds of deceptive marketing tricks so are we really likely to believe that a green soft drink is a legitimate choice next to water?

Time will tell. Unfortunately, the soft drink juggernauts will not be trying this marketing on Australian audiences until they are guaranteed of success in the US and UK marketplaces.