GOOD

‘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
AFP News Agency / Twitter

A study out of Belgium found that smart people are much less likely to be bigoted. The same study also found that people who are bigoted are more likely to overestimate their own intelligence.

A horrifying story out of Germany is a perfect example of this truth on full display: an anti-Semite was so dumb the was unable to open a door at the temple he tried to attack.

On Wednesday, October 9, congregants gathered at a synagogue in Humboldtstrasse, Germany for a Yom Kippur service, and an anti-Semite armed with explosives and carrying a rifle attempted to barge in through the door.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Andi-Graf / Pixabay

The old saying goes something like, "Possessions don't make you happy." A more dire version is, "What you own, ends up owning you."

Are these old adages true or just the empty words of ancient party-poopers challenging you not to buy an iPhone 11? According to a new study of 968 young adults by the University of Arizona, being materialistic only brings us misery.

The study examined how engaging in pro-environmental behaviors affects the well-being of millenials. The study found two ways in which they modify their behaviors to help the environment: they either reduce what they consume or purchase green items.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One of the biggest obstacles to getting assault weapons banned in the United States is the amount of money they generate.

There were around 10 million guns manufactured in the U.S. in 2016 of which around 2 million were semiautomatic, assault-style weapons. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry's trade association, the U.S. industry's total economic impact in 2016 alone was $51 billion.

In 2016, the NRA gave over $50 million to buy support from lawmakers. When one considers the tens of millions of dollars spent on commerce and corruption, it's no wonder gun control advocates have an uphill battle.

That, of course, assumes that money can control just about anyone in the equation. However, there are a few brave souls who actually value human life over profit.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via Reddit and NASA / Wikimedia Commons

Trees give us a unique glimpse into our past. An examination of tree rings can show us what the climate was like in a given year. Was it a wet winter? Were there hurricanes in the summer? Did a forest fire ravage the area?

An ancient tree in New Zealand is the first to provide evidence of the near reversal of the Earth's magnetic field over 41,000 years ago.

Over the past 83 million years there have been 183 magnetic pole reversals, a process that takes about 7,000 years to complete.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Pixabay

The final episode of "The Sopranos" made a lot of people angry because it ends with mob boss Tony Soprano and his family eating at an ice cream parlor while "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey plays in the background … and then, suddenly, the screen turns black.

Some thought the ending was a dirty trick, while others saw it as a stroke of brilliance. A popular theory is that Tony gets shot, but doesn't know it because, as his brother-in-law Bobby Baccala said, "You probably don't even hear it when it happens, right?"

So the show gives us all an idea of what it's like to die. We're here and then we're not.

Keep Reading Show less
Health