Effects of color as an executional cue in advertising: They're in the shade

Gerald Gorn, Amitava Chattopadhyay, Tracey Yi, Darren W. Dahl

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

270 Citations (Scopus)


In designing print ads, one of the decisions the advertiser must make is which color(s) to use as executional cues in the ad. Typically, color decisions are based on intuition and anecdotal evidence. To provide guidelines for these decisions, this research proposes and tests a conceptual framework linking the hue, chroma, and value of the color(s) in an ad to consumers' feelings and attitudes. In an experimental study, the three dimensions of color used in an ad are manipulated using a between-subjects design. The results support the hypotheses that ads containing colors with a higher level of value lead to greater liking for the ad, and this effect is mediated by the greater feelings of relaxation elicited by the higher value color. Feelings play an equally important role in the effect of chroma. Consistent with the hypotheses, higher levels of chroma elicit greater feelings of excitement, which in turn increase ad likeability. A follow-up study found that although managers often select higher value and higher chroma colors, in a large number of cases they do not. The findings of both studies are integrated in our discussion of the importance of value and chroma in increasing the range of options available to a manager faced with the selection of colors in an ad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1400
Number of pages14
JournalManagement Science
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997


  • Advertising and Media
  • Buyer Behavior
  • Marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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