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World's Ugliest Color, Opaque Couche, Enough to Make You Quit Smoking?

Image: World's Ugliest Color, Opaque Couche, Enough to Make You Quit Smoking?
(Twitter/@Pantone448C)

By    |   Friday, 10 Jun 2016 12:21 PM

The world's ugliest color, a green-brownish shade called Pantone 448 C or opaque couché, is so bad, it's being used on cigarette packaging around the world in an effort to dissuade smokers.

Described by House Beautiful magazine as a "sewage-tinged hue," the color was identified as the world's ugliest based on a study the Australian government conducted in 2012. The research company GfK was hired to determine "the most offensive color" to print alongside new graphic health warnings on cigarette boxes, the magazine said.

"It had as its aim the antithesis of what is our usual objective," GfK Bluemoon market researcher Victoria Parr, told the Brisbane Times in 2012 about the ugly color search. "We didn't want to create attractive, aspirational packaging designed to win customers . . . Instead our role was to help our client reduce demand, with the ultimate aim to minimize use of the product."

GfK went through seven studies involving more than 1,000 regular smokers ages 16 to 64 with colors that included dark brown, lime green, white, beige, dark grey, and mustard, according to the Brisbane Times. None of them could match the reactions elicited by Pantone 448 C, which Parr told the newspaper was described as "death," "dirty," and "tar," without any positive adjectives.

House Beautiful wrote that the use of the color on cigarette packaging has been successful enough that Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France have also recently passed "plain package" laws with the same color.

"The only color or shade permitted on or for the external packaging of a unit packet or container packet of hand rolling tobacco is Pantone 448 C with a matte finish," stated the United Kingdom's new "Standardized Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015," dated May 20.

Angela Wright, the author of "The Beginner's Guild to Color Psychology" and a color consultant, told CNN that the use to colors to discourage behavior has been used before with a similar hue. She pointed to Faber Birren, who as a color consultant in the 1960s was asked to come up with a way to dissuade department store employees from taking long restroom breaks.

"The company asked him, 'Can you improve the working area so they don't have to leave all the time and use the restrooms?'" Wright told CNN. "Birren actually took a different view and painted the restrooms in a color similar to Pantone 448 C. And nobody wanted to spend time in the restrooms after that."

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The world's ugliest color, a green-brownish shade called Pantone 448 C or opaque couché, is so bad, it's being used on cigarette packaging around the world in an effort to dissuade smokers.
worlds, ugliest, color, pantone, opaque couche
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2016-21-10
Friday, 10 Jun 2016 12:21 PM
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