The Power of Pink

Author and professor Adam Alter talks environmental influences at this year’s International Retail Design Conference (IRDC)
Posted August 1, 2017

It turns out that when a particular color of bubble-gum pink was used to paint the walls of jail holding cells in the 1970s and ’80s, scientists discovered that the hue worked to calm overnight guests, bringing peace and quiet to an otherwise chaotic scene. The same color has also
been used on the walls of locker rooms as a psychological tactic to soothe and sedate players from the visiting team when they should be fired up and ready to do battle.

Why is this information relevant? Because as we well know, the environment around us influences the ways in which we behave and that may help us better understand what reinforces desired (or undesired) behavior in today’s experiential retail environment.

Adam Alter is an associate professor of marketing and psychology at New York University (New York) and is the author of The New York Times bestseller, “Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces that Shape How We Think, Feel and Behave.” At IRDC, Alter will deliver a keynote session on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 7, during which he’ll help uncover the correlation between the most subtle elements of an environment and our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

His professional work focuses on how subtle cues like color, or even the names and labels we assign people, products and brands, are processed in our brains, where those cues reside in our consciousness, and ultimately, how they influence us. Understanding these dynamics – what those cues are and how they can be utilized to communicate indirectly with consumers in branded environments – will surely be critical in the future as our stores continue transforming from transactional to experiential spaces.

For more information on Alter’s keynote, or to register for the 17th annual IRDC, Sept. 5-8, please visit I hope to see you in New
Orleans next month!