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News & Views

Millennial pink: a marketer’s dream

Marketers have long been looking at millennial consumers through rose-tinted specs, and we finally know why; it’s because pink is definitively the colour of this generation.

While the official hue remains something of a fluid concern, it’s widely agreed that this blushy tone falls somewhere between the soft shades of salmon and nude on the colour spectrum — an evolution of the classic “Chanel pink.”

“Millennials are treating it like it’s a new colour,” says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. “Those of us who have loved this pink for years and years don’t think of it as a new colour. … What I think is happening is that millennials are drawn to the idea of a colour that’s soft but that isn’t super-feminine. Its fluidity is what gives it a whole new meaning.”

Far from just the “in” colour of 2016 and 2017, millennial pink has almost morphed into a cultural touchstone, becoming synonymous with rapper Drake’s style, and saturating every frame of the instantly iconic ‘Boys’ video from Charli XCX, a playful bit of filmmaking which upends the male gaze, presents a softer form of masculinity, and features a whole bevvy of millennial heartthrobs.

It’s everywhere in fashion, in both men and women’s clothing lines, from sportswear formalwear. (The hype for rose gold accessories might owe a debt to this trend too, with everything from luxury watches to iPhones selling in a shiny, pink-tinted hue.) It’s even starting to influence other sensory realms, including scent. Fashion brand Missguided’s first foray into perfume was a candyfloss-infused concoction designed to evoke the colour.

And millennial pink also made its way onto our tastebuds, with rose-hued foods from rose-tinted macaroons to “ruby chocolate”. The latter concoction, created by Barry Callebaut, was apparently conceived to meet “a new consumer need found among millennials… hedonistic indulgence.”  Of course, these dishes are usually about looking good on Instagram rather than tasting great; Refinery29 ran a listicle entitled ’12 foods to satisfy your millennial pink tooth,’ and this year Le Creuset released an “hibiscus” pink collection of cookware.

“Is all any of this pink stuff as good as it looks?” Asks the Washington Post’s Maura Judkis. “That’s in the eye, and taste buds, of the beholder, of course.”

Some fashion commentators are predicting that millennial pink will soon be usurped by soft shades of yellow as we head into the autumn style season. And apparently, the next big #foodporn trend will be purple treats. Whichever it turns out to be, it will be interesting to see whether the next big shade will capture the imagination of consumers (and marketers) quite as ubiquitously as pink.

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