In today’s color blog, we’ll dive into the psychology of pink and how you can use pink branding to target specific audiences. From its gendered associations to its possible soothing effects, pink is more complex than you might think.
If you missed our blog on the psychology of red, check that out. If you’re caught up, read on.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of pink? For many of you, some aspect of femininity probably pops up. In Western culture, pink has long been associated with girls. Gender reveal parties serve up pink frosting, pink balloons, and pink banners.
While many women don’t subscribe to the idea that pink is for them, it’s still a branding staple for several companies targeting women and girls, like Victoria's Secret and Cosmopolitan. The target audience is clear the moment you see the bright pink storefront or the splashes of pink on Cosmo's magazine covers.
Barbie, one of the toy industries most famous dolls, has been capitalizing on pink and its feminine ties for over 60 years.
To start, its logo is the color of bubblegum. Barbie and pink are practically synonyms at this point. Barbie loves pink: pink clothes, pink cars, pink accessories, and so on, all geared toward little girls. I was one of them, Barbies making a mess of my hot pink room. The branding worked on me like a charm.
Since pink and femininity go hand in hand, pink is thereby tethered to the other associations people make with femininity, such as the quality of being nurturing, stemming from motherhood. If these are some of the qualities you want your brand to reflect, lead with pink.
The color of love and sweet things
Pink and red are colors of love. One could say pink is the daughter of red, the gentler hue of romance. As mentioned in our blog about red, Valentine's Day is all about pink and red marketing: pink stuffed bears, cards, candies, and flowers.
Pink stretches beyond romantic love, befitting of loveliness in general. When things are "rosy" or "peachy," both arguably in the pink family, things are going well. If someone is "tickled pink," they're experiencing positive emotions.
Cotton candy skies are adored. Rose-colored glasses brighten the world.
Pink branding is perfect for products promoting sweetness and tender love.
Did you know that there's evidence of pink having a calming effect on the mind and body?
In an experiment done by Alexander G. Schauss, Ph.D., the color pink was found to reduce aggression in inmates. But first, how did Schauss theorize pink's sedative qualities? In an initial experiment, he had subjects stare at pieces of pink cardboard. (It's worth noting that a specific shade of pink was tested, eventually dubbed Baker-Miller pink.) His subjects were relaxed by the shade, while other colors had no substantial effect on them.
Schauss took these findings to a correctional facility where the admissions cell was painted Baker-Miller pink, another kept the original brown. After 156 days of research, the center stated: Since initiation of this procedure on March 1, 1979, there have been no incidents of erratic or hostile behavior during the initial phase of confinement.
The calming effects of Baker-Miller pink lingered for at least 30 minutes after an inmate's removal from a cell, allowing for easier transport to a more permanent cell. However, later findings by Schauss and others were mixed, so while the initial results are intriguing, they are inconclusive.
If you're in the camp that believes in the sedative powers of pink, it could be a good color to use for products meant to calm, especially those targeting women.
Keep an eye out for our next color psychology blog!
More brands that use pink: Vineyard Vines, Pepto-Bismol, Dunkin Donuts, Hello Kitty, and PINK.
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