- Pantone named Classic Blue its Color of the Year for 2020, and will for the first time use multisensory experiences related to sound, smell, taste and touch to bring its annual pick of hue to life, according to a news release. Classic Blue was described by Pantone executives as "solid and dependable" and evocative of the sky at dusk.
- To enliven Classic Blue, the company famous for its color matching system collaborated with a number of partners, including: Adobe, which compiled a themed image collection; Artechouse, the creator of digital art installations, which brought together influencers, media members and creatives at its permanent New York City space to reveal the Color of the Year; Audio UX, an audio branding agency, which developed a sound called "Vivid Nostalgia" that seeks to embody the timeless, comforting qualities of Classic Blue; and FedEx, which designed what the release described as a "multidimensional installation" for Classic Blue by leveraging its color matching and print technology.
- Additional collaborators include privately owned flavor and fragrance label Firmenich, which contributed a Classic Blue "taste" and "smell"; digital-first home furnisher The Inside, which created a custom, velvety fabric that will be sold for a limited time; Landr, the platform for musicians, which put together a pack of 200 samples and loops evoking Classic Blue; and luxury tea blender Tealeaves, which selected a bespoke blend of botanicals inspired by the symbolism of the color.
Pantone's expansion of its Color of the Year — an analysis-driven tradition stretching back two decades for the company — out of the realm of the strictly visual cues into a few growing marketing trends related to multisensory experiences. The Color of the Year is intended to inform consumers, creatives and brands around where trends are heading and how their stylistic choices in fashion, beauty, décor and beyond can become more resonant.
More businesses are developing assets like sonic branding and logos that recognize consumers are now frequently exposed to messages outside of mainstay marketing channels like TV and print. These strategies also arrive as consumers grow more averse to traditional modes of advertising, but often welcome unique experiences that are hard to find elsewhere. Pantone appears to be trying to modernize its approach with these factors in mind and as the next decade quickly approaches.
"As we all head into a new era, we wanted to challenge ourselves to find inspiration from new sources that not only evolve our Color of the Year platform, but also help our global audiences achieve richer and more rewarding color experiences," Laurie Pressman, VP of the Pantone Color Institute, the firm's consulting division, said in a statement around the news.
For last year's selection of Living Coral, Pantone ran pop-up activations with Marriott's Tribute Portfolio group, recreating hotel staples like concierge desks and rooms to be themed around the color, Adweek reported. The slew of partners attached to Classic Blue's unveiling shows Pantone expanding its ambitions in areas like experiential and audio marketing, along with product offerings that span everything from fabric to tea blends.
Other marketers have followed Pantone's lead in tapping into colors and the emotions they evoke as a means to engage consumers. Xerox rolled out a campaign this fall that asks consumers on whether clear is a color, part of a broader repositioning of its brand. The #Clear2020 effort followed a push by the company known for photocopying hardware that questions whether tennis balls are green or yellow.