Oct 31, 2018

How drugmakers decide the color of their pills

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Viagra is blue. Nexium is purple. Those color schemes have been integral to the drugs’ marketing, and thus their sales, and thus the billions of dollars they’ve made for their manufacturers. And those colors weren’t an accident.

“We typically select a brand’s colors palette and logo years before launch, based on deep customer insights," Eli Lilly told BioPharma Dive for this thorough exploration of the color-selection process.

Several factors affect drugmakers’ dye decisions, according to the report:

  • Drugmakers don’t want their products to be the same color as competing products.
  • The color of the pill itself integrates into the drug’s overall marketing scheme.
  • Regulatory requirements limit certain ingredients, which limits color options.
  • Different colors have different meanings in different parts of the world.
  • As with any other design choice, colors like red and orange suggest stimulus, while shades of blue imply serenity. So the color depends on what the drug does.

"If you have a product for, let's just say a dermatology product for psoriasis, you're not going to make the color red because that reminds people of inflammation. You're not going to use the color yellow for something treating an infection because that reminds you of pus," Dave Traini, the creative director at a health care advertising agency, told BioPharma Dive.

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Situational awareness

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  2. Trump misrepresents 2020 Russia briefing as Democratic "misinformation"
  3. Bernie Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"
  4. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone
  5. Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Sanders takes aim at Bloomberg: "Trump will chew him up and spit him out"

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Bernie Sanders told CBS "60 Minutes" that he was surprised by Mike Bloomberg's lackluster performance at Wednesday's Democratic debate.

What he's saying: "If that's what happened in a Democratic debate, you know, I think it's quite likely that Trump will chew him up and spit him out."

Scoop: Lyft acquires cartop advertising startup Halo Cars

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Lyft has acquired Halo Cars, a small startup that lets ride-hailing drivers earn money via ad displays mounted atop their cars. Lyft confirmed the deal but declined to share any details.

Why it matters: Ride-hailing companies are increasingly eyeing additional ways to generate revenue, and Lyft rival Uber has been quietly testing a partnership with New York-based Cargo that gives it a cut of the advertising revenue, as I previously reported.