Monday, December 19

PMS Becomes A Brand

The beloved PMS ... the Pantone Matching System has officially (at least in my eyes) become a brand.

If you are not familiar with Pantone, it's the bible of all bibles when it comes to color selection in the graphic arts field.  There's not an Art Director in the country that doesn't live by it.  Every good agency person has a PMS book at the ready, sitting right on their desk for quick review.  But for years, it was just an industry secret, nothing that the public ever saw.  It was an industry exclusive tool ... at least up until now.

For me, the brand expansion started with mugs.  Pantone mugs that featured signature colors ... you could pick the color that best expressed your personality I suppose.  I thought they were the coolest thing, and in fact when I was recently visiting a fellow advertising agency I noticed that they were using them to serve coffee to clients.  It impressed me and made an instant "brand" impression.

For the past several years, Pantone has been declaring "the color of the year," which has had great impact on design trends.  2011 it was Honeysuckle.  Don't know what Honeysuckle looks like?  Well then just check your PMS swatch book to see it, as well as all the shades around it.

Then most recently I read that Pantone was getting into the cosmetics category.  Makeup from Pantone?  Makes sense, actually, when you think about it.  If they "own" the color range (the full color range), then that might as well make its way into color cosmetics as well.  For added credibility, it's an exclusive deal with Sephora, and is starting out in the tangerine and orange family of colors, to coincide with Pantone's color of the year for 2012:  Tangerine Tango.

Brilliant.  Set to hit Sephora stores in March, if successful the line will expand to include other colors.

It's so much fun to watch an industry "vendor" if you will turn itself into an industry leader, pop culture trend, and then a brand.  This is why I love marketing!

Like any good brand, you can follow all the activity on Twitter @mypantone and @pantonetrends.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
Professor at NYU

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