• What is the ugliest colour in the world? (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The murky colour is taking on the tobacco industry one hue-repulsed smoker at a time.
Sarah Norton

10 Jun 2016 - 3:28 PM  UPDATED 10 Jun 2016 - 3:28 PM

There’s a murky hue that has been deemed the ugliest colour in the world and it’s being used in campaigns to stop people smoking.

Research group GfK Bluemoon was asked by the Australian Government in 2012 to create cigarette packaging that was unappealing. The Brisbane Times reports that it took three months of market research to determine the most unlikeable colour.

Pantone 448 C - also known as Opaque Couché - was announced the winner.

Participants from the research often described the colour as “death”, “dirty” or “tar”, researcher Victoria Parr told Brisbane Times.

GfK Bluemoon carried out seven studies with more than 1000 smokers aged 16 to 64. Participants from the study indicated that the drab colour would have the least appeal for consumers if it was applied to cigarette packaging. 

Australia has been using this ugly colour along with graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging since the government implemented plain packaging legislation in December 2012. Now governments in the UK, Ireland, and France have passed plain packaging laws with samples that use the same repulsive hue.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) National Health Survey 2014-2015 shows there was a 16.1% decrease in the amount of daily adult (18 years and over) smokers in Australia since 2011-2012.

Cigarette packets with health warnings and the "ugly" colour.

A post-implementation review states the plain packaging has started achieving its public health objectives. The legislation is reducing smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke in Australia. 

Since the plain packaging was implemented, there have been 108,228 fewer smokers in Australia, according to Dr Tasneem Chipty, an expert in econometric analysis who was engaged by the Department to analyse data and determine whether the plain packaging was effective on the prevalence of smoking in Australia. 

Research shows that colour - unsurprisingly - does indeed have an impact on people's consumption choices. Marketing studies have indicated the relationship between brands and colour matters - if consumers find a colour unappealing, they really are less likely to make the purchase.

For now, the “ugliest colour in the world” is trying to stop people from smoking. It even has its own Twitter account with the tagline, “Just Opaque Couche, tryin’ to live my life.” 

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