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Color Influencing Consumer Purchasing Decisions

Forgive us, Kermit, but it finally seems that it IS easy being green. According to a new national survey examining America's feelings for the color, green is enjoying not only a resurgence, but has been recycled with a positive image makeover.

Buoyed by its connection to environmental preservation, the survey, commissioned by The Kaplan Thaler Group, the renowned advertising agency perhaps best known for creating the Aflac Duck, found that the color green is more positive, influential and relevant than it was five years ago. In fact, 77% of Americans now view green primarily as a symbol of the environmental movement, and for most, it’s not just a color anymore. Associations with envy, greed and money have been replaced with conservation, coolness, and cachet. More than half of Americans, 53%, today feel more positively about the color green than they did five years ago.

One third of those surveyed actually categorized the color green as distinctively “cool.” The love affair with the color seems to be taking place from Seventh Avenue to Madison Avenue as designers and marketers embrace green from environmentally correct fabrics and products to the color itself. The use of green seems even wiser considering that one out of four women surveyed – the primary household purchasers – said that they are more apt to buy a product sold in packaging featuring the color green.

Maybe it’s Al Gore’s Academy Award-winning “Inconvenient Truth” or the shrinking size of water bottles, but as environmental awareness has penetrated pop culture, the color green has evolved into a cultural symbol. Kaplan Thaler says that green can credit a warmer, wetter planet for its new image. In fact, according to the survey, in 2003 only 59% of Americans associated the color green with the environment. Today, that number has risen to 77%.

With green going Hollywood, those living in California (83%) have become more likely to associate the color with being environmentally conscious than their friends in Boston (74%). And women are more likely than their boyfriends to connect the color green with conservation (80% in comparison to 73%).

As the message to save the planet has intensified over the past five years, previous negative associations with green have significantly subsided. Remember the saying “green with envy”? Well, that expression is apparently a passé cliché. Only 27% of those questioned connected green to envy.

Meanwhile, certain cultural and world events have also impacted what people associate with the color. Almost half of the country (49%) relates green with army fatigues and uniforms (up from 43% five years ago when the Iraq invasion began). And, even in a recession, greenbacks still are on most people’s minds, with 75% of those surveyed associating green with money.

The survey spoke with more than 1,000 adults comprising of 508 men and 507 women 18 years of age and older, living in households in the continental United States. Interviewing was conducted by CARAVAN Opinion Research Corporation and the Survey was completed during the period of March 20-24, 2008.

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