What Color is Your Ad? Green is His, Purple is Hers, and Use Blue to Straddle the Gender Divide

What Color is Your Ad Green is His, Purple is Hers, and Use Blue to Straddle the Gender DivideIt’s not a secret that psychology is a factor in why some ads resonate and others do not. And there are gender differences in content , too — which is why (like it or not) — men don’t mind ads with screeching engine noise and women can’t resist an ad with a picture of a newborn.

But color is something that often gets left to a willy-nilly, last ditch decision.

Does color matter? Probably so.

“One psychological factor (in advertising) is known as the “isolation effect,” which states that people have superior recall for things that stand out on their own. An ad that’s there on its own, taking up the entire screen. Better yet, adding color—bright colors for ads targeting men, softer ones for women—has been shown to improve performance, too,” posited Celtra in a recent post.

The “psychology of color” as it relates to persuasion is one of the most fascinating and debated aspects of marketing.

Color is something people recognize and process even from an early age. Does anyone remember the famous study that had toddlers decide whether products were meant for girls or boys? Even at preschool age, the study subjects knew tea sets that were black were for the guys, and the ones that were pink were meant for the gals. Color may be something much more intuitive than most of us realize.

There are colors that have perennial connotations. Yellow is happy — and also safe — the color of school busses and No. 2 pencils. Drift to black and brown and you’ve entered the zone of darkness, despair, death, and dissolution (sorry, UPS). Those darker hues are the colors of things we like least in this life.

Study after study has shown the way. If you want to attract female consumers, purple, pink, and turquoise work well. Men, on the other hand, run from purple, but pay attention to red, the color of power and excitement.

The safe meeting ground? As it turns out, blue — preferred by 57 percent of men and 35 percent of women — is the best color to use if one’s product or message is aimed at a gender-neutral crowd. Blue, the color of clear skies and competence, is the favored color of both sexes.

“Additional research in studies on color perception and color preferences show that when it comes to shades, tints and hues men seem to prefer bold colors while women prefer softer colors. Also, men were more likely to select shades of colors as their favorites (colors with black added), whereas women were more receptive to tints of colors (colors with white added),” according to researchers (http://www.helpscout.net/blog/psychology-of-color/).

Marketers who want to get into the psyches of prospective consumers have a lot to think about — from message, to visuals, to wording, to placement.

But it’s a mistake to count out color as a factor. It might just be the factor that puts some advertisers in the pink, and leaves others feeling blue.