Not a Pink Elephant — it’s a bike & a candy bar, and shoes and just about everything else.
At the risk of being accused of humble bragging, I would just like to declare that I was born to be a millennial. That’s right, this baby-boomer/Gen X’r — born in 1963 on an Air Force base outside of Paris is actually the first millennial. How do I know? Because of my long-standing fascination with pink.
In case you’ve all missed it, the color pink has been conferred upon the entire millennial generation. It even has an official name — “tumblr pink”. I’m not sure if millennials have approved of this high honor, but the media, advertisers and brands selling products have made it so. Want proof, check out the newest strawberry Kit kats, a whimsical colored treat packaged in “millennial pink”.
Here’s my issue with this assignment of the color. I called dibbs on Pink in 1975. It was the color of my first bike, and I wrote an entire essay on this critical coming-of-age purchase in my new book, Dare Mighty Things: A Field Guide for Millennial Entrepreneurs.(Shameless plug.) And just to drive the point home, any guesses on the color of the cover of my book? That’s right … pink.
What’s that you say? All this is just a coincidence. You think anybody could have lucked into picking the color pink. No sir, not true. When I purchased Skidmore Studio seven years ago, we embarked on a new identity system to mark the change of ownership. Any thoughts on the key color of the new identity? Yessir, pink.
Then a year later, we moved the studio from the relatively safe confines of Royal Oak to the gritty and bold creative resurgence of Downtown Detroit. And, what was the primary color of the “bold” campaign that announced this move? Yep, pink.
So, what’s all this mean. Well, it could mean that the entire millennial generation is watching what I’m doing and they are conspiring in the biggest ironic goof in history. Or, it could mean that I have an acutely sensitive millennial minded philosophy that is naturally attracted to an awesome color that speaks to my firm grip on both my masculinity and sensitive side of life. Or, it could mean absolutely nothing.
Truthfully, I really do think there is something to this trend. Lots of brands are hopping on, and most agree it actually began several years ago. Fashionistas said to expect pink in the fall of 2015, and Pantone, the color experts, named pink one of the colors of the year for 2016. Brands jumped on it with pink spiked Louboutin heels. From headphones, to hats to water bottles. Want to see pink in a fun way? Google the Thinx ads for a giggle.
If you are a bit intrigued, check out this piece in New York Magazine for a light read. But most of all, think about the idea of a color resonating in such a powerful way in our current pop mainstream. It’s fascinating to me how this can happen. I love kit kat bars, but I’m not quite sure how the color pink does much for the kit kat brand. Time will tell if sales take off. But there is no doubt that brand managers, designers in both fashion and marketing teams are literally coloring everything they can find with a big fat brush stroke of pink.
What’s the moral of this story? I dunno. But I’m just tickled pink that I claimed the color 42 years ago with my new 10-speed Schwinn bike. And I’m proud to have stuck with that hue since, and my choice of color for the cover of the book is authentic and true to my brand. But if the coincidence helps sell a few more books, I’m totally good with that.