This is the ugliest color in the world. It’s the color of sewage mud, the color of the unwanted and unhealthy, the color of a soul that belongs to a serial cheater, and now the color of cigarette packages. That’s right, as true power is turning weakness into strength, countries, led by Australia, are using the grossest color in all the land to deter smokers from getting theirs.
It’s called “opaque couché”—or Pantone 448C—and according to a survey by Australian user experience agency GfK, it reminds most people of “filth.” Maybe you can see why.
This was learned after talking to 1,000+ aged 16 to 64 in 2012, but that certainly wasn’t the first deep dive Australia has taken. In 2008, an Australian study published in Tobacco Control revealed that packs of plainer branding, brown colors, and smaller lettering were significantly less eye-snagging than atypical cigarette branding.
It’s believed Australia’s moves have contributed to the country’s steady decline of smoking, and the World Health Organization certainly agrees. On this year’s World No Tobacco Day (celebrated May 31st), WHO leaders, such as Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan, advocated for other advanced nations to follow Australia’s lead with their packaging of tobacco.
CHAN: “Plain packaging reduces the attractiveness of tobacco products. It kills the glamour, which is appropriate for a product that kills people.”
Just recently, in May actually, the United Kingdom followed suit by introducing legislation to make opaque couché the primary color for about 60% of packs, with brands being limited to standard fonts, sizes, and locations. If you want to kill something that kills, make it boring and homogeneous. A lack of character is a lack of interest is a lack of sales is a lack of industry.