Choosing the Right Color for your Russian Ads

Whether it is a giant billboard or an online discount coupon, several components contribute to an attractive and effective ad. In addition to a number of other factors like font or images, advertisers use color to communicate a brand or message to their target audience.   The psychological impact of color influences users but also marketers and web designers to adjust their branding, advertising, and products. Physical, psychological, cultural, social, and gender factors all influence the way a person reacts to color.

Here are just a few of the ways color universally affects conversions according to Kissmetrics:

  • 92% of shoppers say that the visuals are the number one factor that influences a purchase over smell and taste
  • 90% of purchases are impacted by color alone
  • 66% of shoppers won’t buy a good if they don’t like the color
  • The color of your buy button and CTA can increase your conversions

Color plays a very important role in attracting and converting your audience no matter what you are selling. Beyond the most general facts on visual impacts on conversions there are also gender and cultural differences to keep in mind.  Men and women have different color preferences and visual connections to ads and products. For instance, both men and women prefer blue and green but women love purple and men hate it! Men also prefer the color black, which seems a bit surprising when thinking about the amount of black women wear.

Cultural differences matter too! Before creating or reproducing an ad or website in a new market, the impact of color needs to be considered in the context of the new local audience.  Similar to the way a slogan may not translate correctly to international audiences, diverse cultures interpret and associate colors in different ways worldwide. This blog summarizes Russians’ common associations with colors to help advertisers localize their website and Russian ads.

Red

In Russia, the top association with the color red relates to war and the Soviet Union.  Due to these associations, red symbolizes patriotism, courage, valor, and bravery of Russians.   Red stands for the 70 years of the proletariat ideologies in the SSSR.

Red also symbolizes happiness, success, (red corner in a home) and prosperity. Therefore, in Russia, red is most commonly used to encourage an indecisive user. Advertisers use it to attract someone to make a purchase.  Red demands attention, telling potential customers, “Don’t pass, there’s something interesting here!”  Be mindful that too much red has the potential to instigate negative reactions.

Yellow and Orange

The most attractive colors for Russians are yellow (or gold) and orange. The colors are associated with warmth and sunshine, which is lacking during the long Russian winters. The bright colors encourage peaceful dialog, communication, and also balanced emotions, making people feel more relaxed and comfortable. In Russia, the color is most often used for ads for children’s goods. It’s also said that the color yellow is used for “deciphering”  signs of intellect. Therefore, ads for the newest technology gadgets often include the color yellow.

sunshine

Tractors, bulldozers, and other machinery are also yellow in Russia. Advertisers promoting products or services relating to drivers or building, may want to use yellow due to its association with these industries.  It’s worth noting that the color yellow in Russia is known as the color for risk and dangerous situations.   Yellow is usually on vehicles for gas services and ambulances in addition to many warning signs.

Be cautious when using gold in your ads. Like other places, gold is associated with wealth and previous gold currencies.  Sometimes gold can be overused in the context of luxury and deflect people away.

When using yellow in ads, it’s advisable to only make a portion of the ad or text in yellow. Juxtaposed with a darker color, yellow can really stand out and attract your audience.  When combined with white, it can be harder to differentiate the two colors.

Green

Naturally, Russians associate green with the many trees and forest spanning across Russia. Interestingly, the color reminds Russians of peacefulness but also protection, due to the idea that a forest feed and protect its inhabitants. The color is also associated with herbs and health, so it is often used for ads for medications and health related goods.  Cleaning products often use the color green to remind customers they care about the health of the consumer.

forest

Aside from nature, in more modern times, green is associated with foreign currency (thanks to the dollar). The color is therefore used a lot for ads for financial institutions and other services or products relating to sales.

White

White symbolizes cleanliness and purity in Russia. White tends to carry a strong emotional charge for people so it should be used diligently. The color is ideal for concentrated attention on an ad’s message when used in the background or for a border.

Blue

Blue is also associated with cleanliness, a clear sky, fresh air, often symbolizing tender feelings. It is a great color to use for ads for boys’ and baby clothes, bedding, powders, and detergents.

sky

Pink

Pink is the most feminine and soft color causing only positive emotions.  Pink is often used for wedding salons, perfumes, jewelry, lotions, and girl’s clothes.

Black

Black is one of Russians’ least favorite colors.  As in many Western cultures, black is associated with mourning (not like white in China and other Eastern countries). Black and darker tones tend to stir negative emotions but also some inward thoughts on inner harmony and solitude.   Black should be used sparingly in ads but selectively for certain industries like restaurants and jewelry which tend to utilize black more than other industries.

Conclusions

Each color is important to consider and strategically use in order to speak to the Russian audience. Of course, there are a number of other aspects to pair with color to create the right image for your audience.  When selecting your colors, first consider the gender and age of your general audience. Then ask yourself what emotions and associations you may want to trigger.  By considering the emotions different colors stir in Russians, you can then adapt your ads for your target audience.  However, remember to be selective and avoid making your ads too busy by mixing too many colors at once.