Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Ocean blue


The grocery stores in our neighborhood continue to surprise us with glimpses of color and light where we least expect them. We have a Sobeys in our town that was built maybe six years ago. A few months ago, ownership changed hands and before the ink on the contract was dry, the almost-new building was in the process of being ripped to shreds. After a few months of chaos, the place sports a funky new brick facade and some nice new fruit holders. As far as I can tell, it isn't any bigger.

I fail to see the rationale behind this facadist grocery makeover, but then again I do not own a grocery store.

There is one happy byproduct of the change: the windows behind the checkout aisles seem to be much brighter than they were before. So as you're walking out of the store lamenting how much you spent - which we were doing on this day, because our kids came with us - you can at least be bathed in friendly, natural light.

The giant display of bottled water has been moved right up against this window, which makes for an interesting bit of backlighting if you happen to have a camera handy. Which I thankfully did.

I know that the bottles are colored blue to convince us that this is clean and fresh and somehow worth more than the free stuff that comes from the tap. I know that this is a blatant marketing trick. But I still like the end result, not so much for the surface color, but for the hue it casts as you walk past.

Your turn: What other examples can you think of where color is used to sell us stuff? Does this bother you?

15 comments:

Tia said...

Oh boy... having studied interior design (and thus psychology of color) AND being married to a graphic designer, I am all too intimately aware of how we're "being programmed" by our surroundings on a constant basis. Sometimes it can really make me feel manipulated and other days I am happy to go along with whatever "they" are attemping to make me feel - as long as the feeling is pleasant. But I feel I am almost always aware of it.

What bothers me more is the other point you discuss - namely wasting of resources for the sake of "freshening an image" for a business. The giant chains here do this on a regular basis. All of the McDonalds around our neighborhood (and do we really need more than ONE? - or any?) have recently been torn down completely only to be re-built in the exact same location. WHY is this OK? And why is it OK for Home Depot to send BRAND NEW appliances to landfills in order to "make the numbers" that month?....... Sorry, I'm getting upset and slightly off the topic....

Killired said...

wow tia... before i even comment on the post, i am going to make a comment on your home depot comment... first of all, are you serious? i've never heard of them doing that... that is crazy, dont they know i need new appliances? geez what's a landfill going to do with an appliance? that's sickening... but what's really close to that is a while back i was in pottery barn for kids and wanted to buy a crib sheet. the only one they had left was the one of the display... so i told them to just take it off, i would buy it cause i would wash it anyway whether it was in the package or not... they said no, we can't. apparently they dump their store displays in their dumpster!!!! i was like WHAT?????????? they said they try to donate some stuff but most of it goes into the dumpster! so i said, you mean this $150 stroller sitting right here is going straight to the dumpster when you're done selling the item in the store and he was like YEP!
my friend and i decided we would try to dumpster dive BUT it's behind a locked gate! i joked with the guy about it and he said the employees will get FIRED if caught taking something out of their dumpsters... how freaking ridiculous is that? made me so mad...

now, about the post. WONDERFUL pix, as always! i couldn't figure out what it was but i saw the code stamped on it and still couldn't figure it out! i love taking a pix of water... it taken just right, it turns out beautiful!!!!

about color... yellow and red are said to make you want to eat... and what colors are mcdonalds and wendy's?????? coincidence? nope... they do that on purpose... amazing isn't it?

barbie2be said...

Carmi, that is one of my favorites of all your shots! i love the was the little bubbles look in the light.

Killired, sounds like you ought to make a call to a pottery barn kids district manager or the corporate headquarters. that practice is insane.

patricia said...

Well off the top of my head, cheese isn't naturally orange. So I'm not a big fan of orange cheddar cheese because of the chemicals they put in it. Also, oranges aren't really as orange as you see them in the grocery store. More chemicals.

So yeah, that whole colour psychology thing sucks, especially if it might affect our health.

Jennie said...

Remember a couple of years ago when they tries to sell purple and green ketchup? Yeah, I was NOT ok with that.

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i love colour, i think it's ok to use it to your advantage to sell whatever you need. i think everyone needs to update their "space" every so often, whether it be home/work/school, but i do wish there was a better way of doing it without having so much waste.

mrsmogul said...

Red is most used, the color makes you hungry.

The color of food packaging not attractive would be brown.

keda said...

yeah damn christian louboutin! those red heels are irrisistable! boo hoo.

i agree completely. years ago when i worked at a bookshop we would have to take all the old books which they had made new covers, off the shelves and rip the back pages off. the boooks were then thrown out. not even recycled. so i offered to take them and get them recycled and they wouldn't let me. if i took them it would be considered stealing.

so i did it covertly :) though i couldnt manage to get them all as it was often hundreds at a time.

keda said...

ooh that wasnt much about colour sorry! 'cept the louboutin thing... um.. yes dyed yellow smoked fish. that annoys me. so i buy the white or natural coloured ones.
ok?

wonderful photo again too babe. it made me go get a glass.

CanEragon said...

The Provigo downstairs used to be a dark black hole to buy food in, until a few months ago. Money changed hands and a month later the dank, dark space was transformed into an airy and bright (Healthy) place to shop.

They extended the space to the bare walls, redid the brick fascade, widened the aisles, and added a beautiful section of fresh foods and fruits and a deli to buy meats, cheese and breads.

They used color to accent the new spaces and repainted all the walls of the interior. The transformation was amazing.

The windows were much brighter and as well, the water display is up against the front windows too. It does seem alot brighter for the windows and the checkout...

Shopping for food now is a visit to a garden of delectable delights, I try to keep to my budget, but now I find myself perusing the aisles just to "look around" more often because the space is just amazing from what it was...

The right color I think induces people to linger longer and over time it seems to bring more business to the little corner grocer. I think color played a huge role in the makeover of our little

"Provigo that Could."

Jeremy

Sandy said...

The blue bottled water actually creeps me out a little. I mean real, good, pure water has no color. If I have a choice in front of me, I tend to reach for non-colored bottles without thinking about it much. I'm odd. I know. ;)

I remember going to buy my first car. I wanted a Neon - it was the first year they were on the market. Although if I knew then when I know now I'd have avoided that thing like the plague. Back then, it was a different story. I liked the headlights; it was a cute car. Yeah, I was a 21 year old girl. I know. Pathetic.

Anyway, I wanted to take the car for a test drive. The dealership I was at didn't have one in stock. He assumed I, being a dumb girl enamored with cute headlights, would be willing to buy it simply based on the brochure he handed me.

"I bet you want the lime green, huh? All the girls like that. It's a really great color for the young women."

Ahh, ewww, no. Just because it's called "Neon" doesn't mean I want mine to *be* Neon.

In the end I did get my car. I bought it somewhere else. I did not buy lime green.

kenju said...

I heard the same story about Pottery Barn. A girl who worked there part-time told me about how their furniture/display goods go to the dumpster when they are finished with it, even if it has no scratches or dents at all. I have boycotted Pottery Barns ever since.

Carmi, I also know that we are constantly manipulated by all levels of merchandising and manufacturing; with color and style and perceived values. It is necessary evil, I suppose.

We had a prefectly good restaurant building near here that has lain empty for about 3-4 years. Last month they tore it down in order to build a new Chick-Fil-A. It was a good, big building and it could have been renovated for any new restaurant. I was disgusted with them for tearing it down.

Killired said...

hmmmm i didnt know that cheddar cheese is not naturally orange... really? wow... and i love cheese!

oh and that colored ketchup thing... was way too weird for me too... couldnt eat purple ketchup... it's red....dont mess with it! weird how 'trained' i am about that....amazing the affects it has on us.

srp said...

Here from Michele.
Great picture. It may not necessarily be color related but the food products, such as cereal with the kids favorite cartoon characters on them will drive parents crazy. And have you seen the new white chocolate M&M's marketed in conjunction with the upcoming Pirates movie?
Never take kids to the grocery store until they are old enough and then only to teach them how to buy groceries. My most stupid pruchases were when Nyssa went with me.

Dara said...

I'm trying to think of an instance where a company changed packaging and that tempted me to buy it...when I worked at my previous job, I would buy frozen meals based on the photo on the front, but the motivator was usually that they were on sale. I think the shape of the Orangina bottle always makes me thirsty for some!