Help Settling a Battle of the Sexes Debate

Updated on September 20, 2010
D.W. asks from Indianapolis, IN
19 answers

My company is dominated by men. I am the only woman. We're preparing to launch a new medication for the pediatric population. Moms will be critical in our success.

When I started the logo was green and yellow. Really masculine. I got them to change it, but the consensus (again, all men and 1 woman) went to blue and yellow. Better, but apparently, everyone's really hung up on an important attribute: the active ingredient is a certified organic material, and they want it green.

So, I need your help.

Do colors of logos and brands make a difference to you? What colors grab your attention?
Does the color of the product have anything to do with its organic ingredient, in your opinion?

We will not be able to call it an organic product, and the public will likely never know that it comes from a natural source because of FDA guidelines on how we can promote.
Please help......I'm seriously outnumbered here.

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So What Happened?

I can't say what the product is for because of our pending FDA status. I can only say that children in daycare/elementary school are the primary group that will use it as needed.

Marketing department? Doesn't specifically exist - long story, but hence, the reason for my question to help me gather ammo to go back in and fight for what appeals to us as Moms.

Featured Answers



answers from Cleveland on

Hi D.!
I would say that logos, in general, should be simple but interesting. Depending on the shade of green & yellow - that might be actually on target - since those are the general colors for gender neutral baby items. The yellow would concern me only from the perspective of where the logo will be - if it is on a white background, sometimes yellow can be lost. I, personally like the idea of "green" being in there for its subtle nod to the "organic" ingredient of the product, even if you cannot list it as such.
Good Luck



answers from Canton on

I personally do not care what the colors of meds are. My primary concern is how safe and effective are they for the cause. The fact that the med has some degree of organic is interesting and would be something I look for.

However, I am very untrusting of FDA and anybody who produces meds. For me I want to know as many facts up front- including all ingredients, because when I research and find things in "small print" or info that is not straight forward in addition to risks associated with the med I will often decline and/or refuse.

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answers from Columbus on

Hire a marketing company. They know these things, even if we tell you what we think, we have no idea how that plays out in real life in what we purchase collectively and why. I don't think we would be any help to you that you could count on paying you back in terms of sales. I troubles me that your company does not have the money or knowledge to hire a professional to help you, given that you are producing and selling a medication! I never pay attention the the color of packaging, that I know of, but if I am wrong, how would I know?


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I'm with Martha on this one - a company marketing a pediatric medication that does not use marketing firms to determine packaging??

OK so, giving the benefit of the doubt, say you're a tiny start up or something, contact a local college's marketing and public relations department. Offer to make your company's product an assignment for their department. Some smaller schools will do it for nothing if you allow one semester's time for the whole thing and you are willing to meet with students. A semester is not that long in the grand scheme considering how long it takes to get a product to market. The higher end schools will likely charge, but not as much as a marketing firm.

I still think it is worth the money to hire someone. If this is anew introduction you could lose money, time and market patience if you don't get the eyeballs on your product. If your product isn't moving the stores won't carry you. So while many firms do change packaging, if it is a new product, you may not get a second chance.

Print out and give your co-workers these messages, it might let them know they need more help.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

What does the marketing dept say? I work in marketing and I know our marketing/ad group has the lion's share of say-so in design--especially a logo!

Personally, I like (and tend to buy) natural looking packaging and clean graphics: Origins products, Sobe, WholeFoods, Kiss My Face, Seventh Generation, etc.....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

A nice, cleanly designed package will attract me enough to pick up the product and read the label. A package that's got a ton of crazy colors and starbursts and writing ALL OVER IT - I will generally think it's full of junky ingredients, even if it isn't. Green (various shades of green, like leaf green and chartreuse, grass green, lime, etc) will automatically be associated, in my mind, with "organic" or "healthy", but only if it's on a white-ish background. My sister's a graphic designer and spend HOURS and HOURS designing packaging and often asks for my opinion on designs. The ones I'm generally attracted to are clean, streamlined, look modern and have shades of green, white and brown ("natural" colors, I guess). A green and yellow package would remind me of bodily fluids that come out of small children. Blue and yellow? Well, that's IKEA, isn't it? Neither combination seems attractive to me...In the end, though, it all comes down to the label. Even the most gorgeous packaging will be put back on the shelf if the ingredients are mostly chemicals and processed junk.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I buy Green. Even if you can't list it, it's still good subliminally. And I think the color green is fairly gender neutral. But you're talking about over the counter medicine right? Benadryl is completely pink. I don't think a dad would choose something differant if his child was having an allergy attack, just based on color. If you picture the kids medicine aisle, a lot of the medicines are in bright primary colors and look like they were written in crayon. It's a signal that you are buying it for that age group. Color cues are important, but you are selling to moms. Moms read the box. I know I don't buy my kids medicine based on my gut reaction to packaging. I read all the labels, find exactly what I think will help them, and then look for a generic version of it!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

What shade of green? I love the color but I am very picky on the shade. If its that bright leaf green I would over look it but a nice olive green to me is soothing. and as for the yellow yuck! what about an off white or a shade of beige (sp). Kind of like the Aveeno packaging. as for the blue not a fan. good luck



answers from Cleveland on


Since it's a medication, nothing special stands out with me. I am also a registered nurse and usually the only thing people associate with a medication is the name and the commercial they saw it in. So unless the pill/liquid is the same color as the logo, I wouldn't worry about it. Green usually does mean organic but again, the colors won't necessarily be important, the organic part and the use of the medication are what is important.



answers from Atlanta on

Yes, logos and their colors do matter to me! I am attracted and drawn to bold, yet warm colors with the exception of green (a cool color). Green is my favorite, but I prefer the deep greens, grass green, etc. to lime green, mint green or pastels. I LOVE orange and I respond well to sunshine and lemon yellow. I would go with green and yellow or green and orange.



answers from Indianapolis on

If they use green, push for a muted, light mossy green, not a bold green.



answers from Los Angeles on

What is the drug for?

That might help figure out the colors.


answers from Jacksonville on

I'm with the mom that said that too much bright splashy stuff makes me assume that there are a lot of artificial ingredients or it's a cheap product. I like clean lines and a few compatible colors. If it is a "natural" product, I know that a lot of manufacturer's use browns. Like a tan bag with white edged in dark brown lettering. Or a pale green (not mint, but a pale sort of green tea color) with tan. I don't have an aversion to green, nor think of it as "masculine". Blue seems more masculine to me. But if it is packaging that any kids will actually see, then I wouldn't go too pastel either. My kids think of pastel anything as for babies. Green tea green with tan would go over with them.

And yes, logos and brands matter to me. If a logo looks like a 5 year old came up with it, I probably will be turned off. I like nice artwork, but not TOO much going on... (the Sunmaid Raisin maid, the Starbucks lady, the green Kashi "label" with the wheat emblem on it, the multi-shades of blue behind the Ronzoni pasta label- also with a wheat emblem... these are some that I find appealing). The fatter the lettering and the bolder/brighter the coloring, the more I feel like it was designed for a kid (and therefore less healthy/full of junk) - think: PopTarts artwork.



answers from Alexandria on

If this is a product that is being marketed for use in school/daycare children why wouldn't you go with bright primary colors?
Those are the colors I think of when I think of school. I think that your colors should speak to the product your are advertising which will in turn speak to the target audience.
If people won't know that the product has organic ingredients then it is pointless to focus on the color green.
Just my humble opinion.



answers from Denver on

If colors and logos meant nothing Lucent wouldn't have spent 11 million developing the "coffee stain" of a logo. McDonald's wouldn't defend their proprietary colors, name and logo so vigorously.

Picking colors, typeface, packaging, etc all matters A LOT. Something with subtle, muted tones will have a different response from bright, splashy packaging.

We used to run through a little worksheets to help us whittle down to the few main elements to get to the visual to aid in what the overall messaging and effect the product would have on the customer. Here are some questions to help your co-workers along.
-Who is the customer, describe them demographically (ages, professions, schooling, income, etc) Just saying "mom" doesn't quite cut it, as you can see from the varied responses below.
-What does the product do
-What do you expect the consumer to do with the product, how will it be used? Where will it be used? How often will it be used?
-Where will the product be positioned (sold) If it's on a grocery shelf, it's different than a Drs office, is different than a health food store is different than mail order. KWIM?

When they're feeling a little overwhelmed: get ahold of a marketing candidate from the local university and see if they'll consult with you. You want someone versed in Consumer Marketing, preferably children -it's a sub-category unto it's own and close to graduating with their Masters degree. Even 10 minutes with them will make a huge difference in your outcome.

When they start digging in their heels about not needing help: Marketers aren't cheap for a reason. They're worth their weight in silver :) Packaging, branding, etc will make or break a product. Over 40,000 new products are introduced every single year at the Grocery convention, only a handful will survive to the next year.

I used to work at a manufacturing company and every engineer said the product worked so well it would sell itself, just need a few good sales people. Yep, it's why they're now out of business. GL!!!



answers from Cleveland on

Hi D. - I agree that colors do make a difference to me. If something is organic, I guess I expect that the packaging with have more muted colors. Bright green is not really a "natural" color so I think it's more about the shade of the color.

If the product is organic and for children, I would expect it to be "simple" looking and not garish with bright colors like a lot of children's things. At the same time, a font that was too elegant would make me think it would be for adults.

I see you have no marketing department. Maybe you could suggest bringing in a group of moms to look at some samples and survey them about which they like best and why. It wouldn't be very scientific, but you could do it in half an hour and give them small ($15?$20?) giftcards for a store or do a raffle for one large card ($200 or more?). I'm sure a lot of people would be willing to spend half an hour in exchange for a giftcard.

I like the idea about snagging a marketing grad student too! You could probably get someone to do it for free just to have something to put on a resume.



answers from Columbus on

Colors and fonts definitely make a difference! I answered surveys recently where I was given different logos and how I felt about them. Hard, sharp angular lines have a different feeling than smooth, rounded flowing lines.

I don't understand how green and yellow is masculine. Pink and blue, pastels, not so, but it doesn't make me think organic or natural. I suppose strong green and yellows would not be good. Go with softer green.

Why not a softer green with a mere touch of blue and/or yellow?



answers from Cleveland on

Never cared about the color. Cared more about the ingredients and if it worked.



answers from Fort Wayne on

I like bright bold colors. They grab your attention. I don't really know that I would consider something green and yellow to be masucline. I think blue is a more traditionally masculine color. I do associate the color green with a more organic product. I think that green and yellow are seen as fairly gender neutral colors. It really depends on who you are marketing to. If it's going to be toward physicians, remember a lot of them are men.

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