New York Times advertising columnist Stuart Elliott reports that plum "may become the new black for advertisers and media companies." He cites the American Express Plum card, the RedPlum coupon inserts in Sunday newspapers, cable channel PlumTV, and tech-services company PlumChoice Online, as well as the new plum-colored labels on bottles of Penta water.
Why plum? Why now?
Trend watchers suggest several reasons so many marketers seem to be going plum loco. One recurring thought is that the success of technology brands like Apple and BlackBerry is giving fruit a good name, hence the proliferation of plums as well as brands like Pinkberry and Red Mango, which are both frozen yogurts.¹
Plum and purple colors also “evoke royalty, sophistication,” said Tom Julian, president at the Tom Julian Group in New York, a brand consultancy.
Those shades can appeal to “the emotional side of one’s passions and interests,” he added, “the individual desire for zest and to be distinct.”
Elliott also quotes Richard Kirshenbaum, co-chairman of New York ad agency Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners: “There’s a positive connotation to the name: a plum job, a plum moment; it’s something that’s sweet and natural.”
Interestingly, "Plum" wasn't American Express's first choice of names for its newest card, which was introduced last fall. Diego Scotti, AmEx's vice president for global advertising, says the company originally called the card's color "burgundy" but was concerned about "fear of confusion with wine brands."
(Image lifted from the California Dried Plum Board. The board received permission from the Food and Drug Administration in June 2000 to use "dried plum" instead of "prune," a word associated with being old. Shortly thereafter, the California Prune Board officially became the California Dried Plum Board.)
¹ There's also Cantaloop, yet another frozen-yogurt chain.