Pantone 448C: The world’s ugliest colour

Many of us are aware of the fundamentals of color psychology. Blue is soothing, red is a forewarning of danger (or love), and green is for health. But which color is most likely to deter people from purchasing cigarettes? Pantone 448C, often known as ‘opaque couche,’ is the color. Or, to put it another way, a soupy brown color.

Gfk Bluemoon’s experts arrived at this conclusion after being contracted by the Australian government to develop new cigarette wrapping that is so ugly that consumers will be deterred from purchasing them.

Is it conceivable that a colour may elicit such an emotional response that it can drive individuals away from their addiction?


Developing the ugliest colour was expensive 

The Australian government engaged a team of market researchers in 2012 to discover a hue that was unattractive enough to discourage consumers from purchasing cigarettes. Smokers who were polled (this required three months, seven studies, and over 1,000 habitual smokers) characterized the color with terms like “dead,” “filthy,” and “grim.” Pantone 448 C was naturally chosen as the winner of the ugly challenge.

However, there are a few issues. The Australian government’s effort also demanded that all cigarette packets have huge, horrific illustrations of what smoking may damage to one’s teeth, lungs, and other organs. Who is to say that it wasn’t Pantone 448 C and not the horrific pictures that kept smokers from purchasing the package? A decaying lung is far more disgusting than a Pantone paint swatch. (Also, if people know why this hue is now wrapping their box, doesn’t that contradict the objective psychologically?) 

Pantone 448C is actually rustic and beautiful 

Apart from the drama, Pantone 448 C isn’t a bad hue. It’s been seen on the runway, in paintings, and in wildlife. It is rustic, it is a beautiful colour. 

Perhaps just don’t use it for your branding. 😂