And now, as Oxbridge comedy quintet Monty Python used to say back in the day, for something completely different. That is what self-proclaimed clear leader in legal expenses insurance DAS is promising in its BIBA Conference pre-publicity materials.
To illustrate the point, DAS’s print ads feature a blue-skinned orange, with the DAS logo affixed where you might expect to see a label saying something like Florida or Seville. Those long weary of the Bristol-based German-owned firm’s tired old recipe of, well, legal expenses insurance mostly, will doubtless be delighted to hear all about the firm’s radical new direction on Stand C25 at BIBA 2012.
If DAS are planning to give away free blue oranges at BIBA, however, they may find few takers. Scientists have found that human beings regard blue as an inherently wrong colour for food and routinely reject otherwise perfectly delectable blue-dyed spaghetti, meringues, shortbread etc in tests. It seems we have evolved to regard blue foods as suspicious and therefore possibly poisonous – a view perhaps less irrational than it might seem given the much-publicised withdrawal from sale of blue Smarties due to fears over the psychoactive properties of the food colouring agent used. Contrary to popular, belief even the liqueur Blue Curaçao (of which Bankstone News is currently allowing itself a modest soupçon in the interests of research/getting in the mood for serious news reporting in the form of a high-potency cocktail loosely based on the classic Long Island Iced Tea) is produced from the standard orange-coloured oranges (albeit an unpalatably bitter variety) with the subsequent addition of E133 Brilliant Blue or equivalent.
So, blue fruits not particularly appealing, is basically what we are saying.
Except, of course, to design agencies. For the best part of a decade, starting somewhere in the mid-90s, naming creative agencies after some more or less improbable combination of fruit and colour was pretty much de rigueur. Red Lime, Blue Pepper, Red Peach, Pink Banana (yes, even that). The market was awash with them, and probably still is for that matter. Look up Blue Orange on the inter-web, and, sure enough, there’s some bloke called Matthew Zuckman who has been working to “combine research, design, and marketing to create results-driven experiences relevant to your business and customers” since 1995.
Perhaps we should not be surprised, then, that DAS’s creative agency came up with the amazingly original idea of taking DAS’s (and pretty much every other insurance-related company’s) favourite colour and applying it wackily to a fruit so strongly associated with another colour that the two share a name.
It seems to Bankstone News, however, that image-wise, like an escort arriving after her client has left, DAS may have missed a trick in not pursuing the Pythonesque path they set out on with the “something completely different” line. The simple addition of a rugged item of footwear to the classic Terry Gilliam Descending Foot of God motif would surely have kept the suggested degree of difference within the realms of reassuringly practical utility, whilst providing the firm with a visual symbol with legs (or one leg, at least) in the form of what might henceforth be known as “DAS Boot”.
Or, then again, possibly not.