There is more to your McDonald’s fries than potatoes.
Its container sends a message.
The Power of Color
Called the Ketchup and Mustard Theory, fast food likes to use red and yellow. Red is a powerful hue that we also associate with love. Meanwhile, yellow is a happy color that conveys comfort and warmth and gives us a lift. I guess that together, they make us feel loved and happy. And that makes us buy fries???
The Happy Meal was packaged in red and yellow:
When it changed logos, still Burger King used red and yellow:
We can see a bit of red in the Hardees star:
Then Denny’s takes us back to Ketchup and Mustard:
Sticking to red and yellow, Dairy Queen tones it down:
And El Pollo Loco returns us to where we began:
A study from 2010 proves the Mustard half of our theory. Asked to associate color with a positive or negative mood, yellow got consistently high happiness grades among 204 individuals (140 female 64 males). As for red, the shade makes a difference. Numbers 3, 4, and 21 had high positives.
Reported in the journal BMC Medical Research Methodology, these were the results:
Our Bottom Line: Competitive Market Structures
Today’s title asks us about color. The answer takes us to competitive market structures. Looking through an economic lens, we can see a continuum with perfect competition at one end and monopoly at the other. Moving from left to right, firms get larger and have more pricing power. They also want to appeal to us. One way is through the power of color.
The four basic market structures:
Companies that have used the power of color:
My sources and more: Thanks to the always interesting 99% Invisible for the color article that inspired today’s post. From there, the links to Medium and Business Insider added detail. However, I learned the most from this 2010 study.