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IMPACT OF THE PACKAGING COLOR OF GENERAL CONSUMPTION PRODUCTS ON THE PERCEPTION, THE EVALUATION AND THE CHOICE OF THE CONSUMER BALIKDJIAN Alexandra, POHL Sabine & DELABY Valérie Laboratoire de Psychologie du Travail et Psychologie Economique Today’s consumer is surrounded with teasing stimuli more colored than ever. A few studies are devoted to the color stimulus impact on the perception of product attributes such as taste, quality or even price. However, each published study demonstrates the differential influence of the products, when taking their color(s) into account. Actually, some authors did propose interesting results: customers were confronted to the packaging of a coffee dressed in different colors and were asked to taste and to evaluate the product; the coffee was declared very strong when the packaging was dark brown, richer in flavors when red, milder if blue and too weak if yellow. Gallen and Sirieix (2007) published a study demonstrating the influence of the shape, the color and even the texture of the container on the tasting perception. Here again the subjects did actually taste the very food in the packaging. The aim of the present study is to measure the influence of the packaging color on the perception, the evaluation and the choice itself. Its novelty lies in the fact that the attribution, by the subjects, of any attributes relative to the products has to be done from the color of its packaging, only from a visual contact with the product. POPULATION and METHODOLOGY In this purpose, a questionnaire was submitted to a sample of 175 subjects, 101 women and 74 men, whose majority (79, 4%) declared to do their shopping themselves. The age mean is 38. 8 years, the younger being 20, and the older 80. Representations of packagings of different colors were displayed and subjects were asked to give attributes judgements (such as the price, the supposed taste…) and to express a choice among these packagings. The research did refer to three kinds of general consumer products: sodas, yoghurts and toothpastes. Ten colors were referenced, blue, red, green, yellow, pink, violet, orange, brown, white and black. This range of colors was initially determined from another sample of subjects’ preferred colors, and from the congruence between products and packagings observed in the supermarkets. BIBLIOGRAPHY Ampuero, O. et Vila, N. (2006). Consumer perceptions of product packaging. Journal of consumer marketing 23(2), 102 -114. Divard, R. et Urien, B. (2001). Le consommateur vit dans un monde en couleur. Recherche et Applications en Marketing, 16 (1), 3 -24. Garber, L. L, Hyatt, E. M. et Starr, R. G. (2000). The effects of food color on perceived flavor. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 8 (4), 59 -72. RESULTS The results show clearly the impact of color on the perception of the attributes proposed to analysis. We knew already the importance of color and packaging when testing, namely tasting, food products. We now realize that simply seeing the color of the packaging influences the perception of some attributions (taste, quality, price) in the consumers’ judgement. For instance, the present research shows that a yoghurt with a yellow or orange packaging will be perceived as more acid than others; when packed in red, it will seem to contain more fruit, contrary to black, brown or blue packagings. Smoothness is more associated with white and pink packagings than black or brown ones packagings. A toothpaste with a white or blue packaging will be declared more efficient, offering teeth whitening, giving a fresh breath and being recommended by professionals. A red or black can will be evaluated as more expensive than others. A white can is seen as containing a small quantity of sugar, followed by the green and the blue, and on the contrary the pink, red or orange cans as containing the largest quantity of sugar. The brown, white and violet cans are looked to be less sparkling than the red, orange or yellow. Furthermore, it is important to note that the packaging color is combined with the product it contains by the subjects when they determine the product attributes. The process of determining the product price is a good example: in the case of toothpaste, the white packaging will increase the evaluated price; in the case of soda, the white can is seen as the cheapest. DISCUSSION This experiment adds to all that is known about the packaging color. The choice of a color by marketeers has to consider the congruence between the message proposed by the color and the intrinsic characteristics of the product. This congruence appears to be the real guide of the consumer’s choice. Pantin-Sohier, G. (2006). Le packaging. In J-P Mathieu, Design et Marketing : fondements et méthodes, (pp. 375 -418). Editions l’Harmattan, Paris. Roullet, B. , Droulers O. , Divard, R. , et Urien, B. (2006). La couleur dans le design. In J-P Mathieu, Design et Marketing : fondements et méthodes, (pp. 80 -137). Editions l’Harmattan, Paris. LABORATOIRE DE PSYCHOLOGIE DU TRAVAIL ET PSYCHOLOGIE ECONOMIQUE