‘World’s Ugliest Color’ Is Now On All UK Cigarette Packs

Feast your eyes on opaque couché, the color designed to repulse smokers

Courtesy Eclat-Graa

Poor, unlovely opaque couché. This lowly cousin of olive drab may be the only color that’s designed to repulse consumers, rather than entice them. After extensive research and focus grouping, the UK government determined it is the ugliest color in the world—and they’re putting it on every cigarette pack.


“It’s used to deter you, to make you feel sick,” says UK-based Karen Haller, who consults on color psychology for big brands. “This particular sludgy green is like decay. You would never get this reaction for lime green or grass green or forest green.”

Opaque couché, known as Pantone 448C among certain crowds, was one of many ugly ducklings presented to 1,000 smokers by global marketing agency GfK. “Dirty” and “death” were words that came up again and again with this one—opaque couché was perfect.

The UK recently made draconian changes to their tobacco marketing laws. All branding has been removed from cigarette packages, a tactic that proved a strong smoking deterrent in this 2013 study. The new packs are 60% covered in health warnings. Health warnings and opaque couché, that is.

Like standing up for an unpopular child, Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, defended Pantone 448C to the Guardian: “At the Pantone Color Institute, we consider all colours equally,” she said. Eiseman then mentioned opaque couché might look nice on a sofa.

GfK’s study was first conducted in Australia, several years back. When the Australian government stamped the ugly color on its own cigarette packaging, they initially called it “olive green”—until the olive industry freaked out. “To associate any food with cigarettes is a thoughtless thing to do, especially one that's had a very good reputation as being a healthy product,” Lisa Rowntree, chief executive of the Australian Olive Association, told The Sunday Age. “You could have called it 'drab green' or 'khaki green' or, better still, not used green at all.''

Color is the first thing our brains absorb on a product package, according to Haller, before shapes or words or a logo. “The job of a brand is to align the color—which reaches you on a subconscious level—with the rest of the messaging,” she says. It may not be voluntary branding, but opaque couché certainly aligns with the new health warnings. (Research participants also associated the color with “Tar”.)

If Haller had conducted the focus group testing, her questions would have been more nuanced and probing: “But how does this color make you feel?” Even so, she suspects her results would have been the same as GfK’s. Haller claims she loves all colors, and yet: “[Opaque couché] really makes you think of rotting.”

Update: Hyperallergic mounted a defense of opaque couché this morning, claiming it’s very similar to the color of Mona Lisa’s shawl.

Articles
Creative Commons

National Tell a Joke Day dates back to 1944 when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was having a meeting with Vice-President, Henry Wallace. The two men were tired and depressed due to the stress caused by leading a country through world war.

During a lull in the meeting, Wallace said, "Frank, to cheer you up I have a joke I'd like to share."

"Let's have it, Henry," Roosevelt replied while ashing his cigarette.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" Wallace asked. "Not sure," Roosevelt replied.

"To get to the other side," Wallace responded.

Roosevelt laughed so hard that the bourbon he was drinking sprayed out of his nose and onto the floor of the oval office.

RELATED: A comedian shuts down a sexist heckler who, ironically, brought his daughters to the show

The joke was so funny, and did such a great job at lightening both their moods, Roosevelt proclaimed that every year, August 16 would be National Tell a Joke Day.

Just kidding.

Nobody knows why National Tell a Joke Day started, but in a world where the President of the United States is trying to buy Greenland, "Beverly Hills, 90210" is back on TV, and the economy is about to go off a cliff, we could all use a bit of levity.

To celebrate National Tell a Joke Day, the people on Twitter responded with hundreds of the corniest dad jokes ever told. Here are some of the best.

Culture

The Judean date palm was once common in ancient Judea. The tree itself was a source of shelter, its fruit was ubiquitous in food, and its likeness was even engraved on money. But the plant became extinct around 500 A.D., and the prevalent palm was no more. But the plant is getting a second chance at life in the new millennium after researchers were able to resurrect ancient seeds.

Two thousand-year-old seeds were discovered inside a pottery jar during an archaeological excavation of Masada, a historic mountain fortress in southern Israel. It is believed the seeds were produced between 155 B.C. and 64 A.D. Those seeds sat inside a researcher's drawer in Tel Aviv for years, not doing anything.

Elaine Solowey, the Director of the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies at Kibbutz Ketura in Israel, wondered if she could revive the Judean Date Palm, so in 2005, she began to experiment. "I assumed the food in the seed would be no good after all that time. How could it be?" Solewey said.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

There's been an uptick in fake emotional support animals (ESAs), which has led some airlines to crack down on which animals can and can't fly. Remember that emotional support peacock?

But some restrictions on ESAs don't fly with the Department of Transportation (DOT), leading them to crack down on the crack down.

Delta says that there has been an 84 percent increase in animal incidents since 2016, thanks in part to the increase of ESAs on airplanes. Last year, Delta airlines banned pit bulls and pit bull-related dog breeds after two airline staff were bitten by the breed while boarding a flight from Atlanta to Tokyo.

"We must err on the side of safety. Most recently, two Delta employees were bit by a pit bull traveling as a support animal last week. We struggled with the decision to expand the ban to service animals, knowing that some customers have legitimate needs, but we have determined that untrained, pit bull-type dogs posing as both service and support animals are a potential safety risk," Delta told People regarding the new rule.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Liam Beach / Facebook

Trying to get one dog to sit still and make eye contact with a camera for more than half a second is a low-key miracle. Lining up 16 dogs, on steps, and having them all stare at the camera simultaneously is the work of a God-like dog whisperer.

This miracle worker is Liam Beach, a 19-year-old animal management graduate from Cardiff, Wales. A friend of his dared him to attempt the shot and he accepted the challenge.

"My friend Catherine challenged me to try to get all of my lot sat on the stairs for a photo. She said, 'I bet you can't pull it off,' so I thought 'challenge accepted,'" he said, accoriding to Paws Planet.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture
via Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Americans on both sides of the political aisle can agree on one thing: our infrastructure needs a huge upgrade. While politicians drag their feet on high-speed rail projects, fixing bridges, and building new airports, one amazing project is picking up steam.

The Great American Rail-Trail, a bike path that will connect Washington state to Washington, D.C., is over 50% complete.

The trail is being planned by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a nonprofit that is working with local governments to make the dream a reality.

Keep Reading Show less
Travel