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Color Talk—Connecting With Consumers at Shelf

By: Liz Grubow
Posted: October 5, 2009, from the October 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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L’Oréal’s EverPure, a hair care line targeting color-treated hair with formulas free of sulfates, is packaged in silver metallic tubes rather than bottles, and it leverages pink stunningly. On shelf, the new range will be merchandised alongside other professionally positioned mass brands, including Nexxus and John Frieda. EverPure is more cosmetic in feel next to these competitors. And, in a bold move, TRESemmé is incorporating pink into its long-standing black color block and recently posted double-digit sales growth in the U.S. and overseas.

In the teen and 20-something segment, the influence of anime and manga (Japanese comics) is prevalent in the Shu Uemura limited-edition line of cleansing oils, which use popular anime characters combined with lively patterns to connect with girls. An offshoot of this trend is Face Boutique, a brand of natural skin care that uses bottles, jars and tubes that are white with brightly colored, illustrated faces. The packaging was designed with the intent that it be considered a decorative accessory appropriate for display on the vanity.

The Pantone Color Institute, a global authority on color and provider of professional color standards for the design industry, forecasted a color palette titled Pastiche, with color combinations such as Soft Lavender and Absinthe Green partnered with Chipmunk Brown. That same shade of brown can be mixed with Mimosa Yellow, Strawberry Ice and Little Boy Blue. Pairings of Bright Cobalt, Tangerine and Duffel Bay Gray were also forecasted. This trend is reflective of the “continuation of the irreverent direction that has been and continues to be influenced by Japanese anime—a movement that has made major inroads into the world of design and color.”

Sweet Obsession

In Asia, trends associated with the population’s obsession with sweets are becoming more and more prevalent, exploiting the arousing, stimulating appeal of bright, textured decorative colors. In Japan, decorated cakes, cupcakes and other desserts are creating a veritable feeding frenzy with Gen X females. Dessert-inspired products are popping up in fashion, accessories, cosmetics, skin care and hair care. The allure of the sweets trend is its lightheartedness and mischievousness, in the way it invokes a feeling of innocence, of being forever young, of memories and pleasures of childhood. Bathing, a line of skin care and bathing products, simulates and is presented like ice cream in an ice cream shop environment—the product is even scooped out and presented in ice cream packaging, completing the theme.

In the U.S., a cupcake craze has been sweeping through the country in the past few years. Because of its cute appearance, affordability, precious size and its ability to transport us back to our memories of simpler times—making cupcakes as children—this dessert of choice has become a metaphor for happiness and is inspiring several products in the U.S., including Lush’s Cupcake Fresh Face Mask, packaged in its standard black pot packaging but looking and smelling like a rich chocolate cupcake (sans frosting) when the lid is removed. Tval Skincare’s Cupcake Soap is fashioned to look like it was plucked directly from a bakery case. It is presented in a cupcake liner, has a candy pink frosting with a hint of white shimmer and is topped with a pink rosebud. To complete the pastry-shop look, it is wrapped in cellophane, tied with a bow and packed in a white box with a ribbon.

Skin Deep in Color