Introducing the world’s ugliest colour

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Back in 2012 the Australian Government set well-known market research agency, GfK, the challenge of finding the world’s most hideous colour to use on tobacco products in an attempt to dissuade people from smoking. 

The need to track down the world’s worst colour came when the law was passed that cigarettes could only be sold in plain packaging, without use of brand logos or promotional text. Leaving the graphic images of tobacco’s effect on health and written warnings to take centre stage.

After three months of research, seven studies and quizzing more than 1,000 smokers they finally managed to track down a colour that no one had a nice word to say about. The colour they uncovered was Pantone hue 448 C or opaque couché (below), and it’s so vile that respondents associated it with the words like ‘dirty’, ‘tar’ and even ‘death’!


Source: Pantone

It seems to have done the trick too. Since plain packs were introduced in 2012 data from the World Health Organisation has shown that around 108,000 people have quit smoking. The success the idea’s had in Australia means it’s now going global with countries like the UK, Ireland and France also following in our footsteps.


Are you a smoker? Do the newly designed plain packs do enough to put you off the idea of lighting up? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter.


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