Colours of marketing – Purple

For many people, when they think about the use of the colour purple in advertising, they immediately think of UK chocolate brand Cadbury. And that’s not accident as it is an association the company fought hard to build and protect for itself.

Cadbury’s distinctive purple colour is officially Panatone 2865c and has been used by the company since 1914; apparently as a tribute to Queen Victoria.

So attached was Cadbury’s marketing to the colour, the company trademarked it 1995 meaning no other confectionary or chocolate brand could use it in its branding.

However, when Cadbury applied in 2004 to renew its trademark, the application was challenged by competitor Nestle, leading to a long, drawn-out battle.

Initially the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) approved Cadbury’s trademark for chocolate in “bar and tablet” form, but the 2004 application to extend it to all chocolate products was denied following Nestles’ appeal – Nestle had been using purple for, among other items, its Quality Streets assorted chocolates. What ensued was a drawn out legal battle between the pair with Cadbury ultimately relinquishing the trademark in 2019.

 Other favour brands which lean heavily on purple for their logos include Hallmark, (gold writing with a purple background), internet search engine Yahoo (white writing, purple background) and Cadbury rival Wonka (purple letter outline against white).

Why is purple so popular?

Purple is seen as something sacred and valiant, for example, the Purple Heart award for bravery. The colour purple has also been used to indicate royalty for as far back as records show, suggesting it is something special and elegant, and not at all an everyday item, instead something special, like a special occasion.

Given its royal association, purple is considered to represent luxury, elegance and refinement.It is also, to put it plainly, pretty and this is an attractive quality when its comes to marketing; think about purple flowers lavender, agapanthus and jacarandas and; foods figs, grapes, eggplant, berries and passionfruit.

When it comes to colour in marketing, purple is a stand out and for some very good reasons. Now I feel like a chocolate…