Or is it Colour of Politics? As a brand strategist, designer and a business lead I cannot easily prescribe a house colour to my clients any more. Because most hues are taken by this divisive World. Keep that pinch of salt handy while reading.
I cannot tell a bank to go with a warm orange or saffron in India as it is associated with the Hindu far right. This would not appeal to the liberal set that probably has the money to keep there. It can also be seen as a fake spiritual brand that appeals to the mass. So that is not an option at all. Or probably it is. We can market to the rabid mass with money and no mind.
I cannot prescribe the grocery chain a tree hugging green as it has religious connotations that can tickle the ‘not so funny’ bones of trident wielding goons in the far right of right. It potentially invites them to enter every small franchise, chew the cabbage, upturn urns of wheat, pour mustard oil on the POS, slap the retail ERP expert, shout guttural slogans and leave. Not good for business.
I will not consider pink for a lingerie brand as the ladies will be up in arms for typifying them. They will write long nasty posts, tweet with #killstereotype #genderequality #pinkisnotpretty #blueisnothandsome, write scathing comments on the brand Facebook page and, if it gets out of hand, hold pickets at city centre. If I am lucky they will burn my effigy too.
Blue can be tricky for a financial consultancy. It is the imperialist corporate choice and the socialists will hate it. They will talk about bourgeois oppression. The Ché posters will be out. They will strike, hartal or bandh (whatever floats their boat) and a symbolic bus will be burnt. Mostly they will gather around street-side tea stalls, lament and read regional newspapers loudly.
I can sell a red to a telecom technology brand. I can tell them it is about blazing dynamism and future-looking momentum. The grim men in the boardroom will see red and come down hard on me. They will hold me responsible for portraying them as communists or worse, Maoists. They will talk about pain and bloodiness. They will boot me out with papers flying. So no-go.
I love black. Like all fancy pants creative directors, when in doubt, I wear black. But now some maniacs in Syria own black. Last time I took it a luxury brand they said it is like death. It is for metal bands and devil worship. So black is apparently not for a brand of soft leather bags made of reptile skin, for a price that I have to mortgage my internal organs. I am doomed.
If you think you are smart, no sir. The LGBT community claims all the colours together and they are proud of it.
So dear designers and brands, now is the time to sit in your thinking (Marcel Breuer) chairs, knock back a tequila shot and suck on that pinch of salt you saved. Cheers.