Interview: Harish Natarajan on Beating IBM Project Debater and Restoring Everyone’s Faith in Humanity…For Now
By Gemma JoyceFeb 15
Published May 1st 2018
Ever since they were invented in the 1950s, humans have been going nuts for the colors of the rainbow. Color TV, color photography, colorful clothes and colored hair.
Gone are the sepia tones of old, now only referenced in plandid Insta shots, and in are vibrant colors anew.
What would Netflix be like in black and white? What would our Slack conversations be if they weren’t in glorious technicolor? I shudder to think of it.
The Brandwatch React team love bright colors. Just check out our logo.
And, with new colors entering the rainbow all the time, like space grey and rose gold, we wanted to take stock – what are people’s favorite colors?
We looked at two months of Twitter mentions of red, blue, green, yellow, purple, pink, orange and (new entry) rose gold to see which was the favorite.
We also investigated the rise in popularity of rose gold, with an unexpected twist involving a curious group of influencers surrounding the color.
Admittedly, this was not the most scientific analysis the team have ever done – we simply typed colors into the query box and then looked at how many mentions they got on Twitter between 1 March and 27 April 2018.
Here are the results:
Red, the color of love, passion, fire, blood and Manchester United wins. Well done, red.
We also took a look at notable days for each of the colors. While red just sort of trended all the time, the other colors saw notable moments of shining.
For example, green peaked strongly on St Patrick’s Day. Blue saw a peak when BTS’s ‘Blue Side’ saw a boost alongside the #iHeartAwards.
Purple got a spike in mentions with the new Spyro trailer.
Orange, in a totally non-ironic way, had a peak caused by President Trump:
My Administration stands in solidarity with the brave citizens in Orange County defending their rights against California's illegal and unconstitutional Sanctuary policies. California's Sanctuary laws....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
Meanwhile, rose gold didn’t have any huge spikes but this did very well when a magical lucky pigeon descended to Earth.
You may have noticed that much of this blog post has been a little tongue-in-cheek, but there’s nothing silly about the intentions behind our rose gold research.
It’s a versatile color with a history that might be more lengthy than you think. Rebecca Mead writes in The New Yorker:
When employed by jewelers, rather than by extremely savvy marketers of digital devices, the term “rose gold” refers to an alloy of gold to which copper has been added. In appearance, rose gold is warm and flush—what yellow gold would look like if it suddenly suffered an embarrassment. The phone may be new, but rose gold has been around for a while.
A look at Google’s “Ngram” analysis tool shows how the term has been used in books over the last 200 years – it saw a big rise in interest around 1930 and began to peak again after the year 2000. As Katy Perry says, it’s in then it’s out, it’s up then it’s down.
While we can’t get Twitter data going back to the 18th Century when jewelers were using rose gold, we can see how popularity surrounding the color has manifested itself over the last few years.
We found two significant spikes surrounding “rose gold” going back to September 2015 when a new iPhone release saw mentions of the color spike to the tune of 129k in a single day. the second was in September 2016 when conversation around a rose gold Pandora ring saw huge interest.
These spikes have a curious commonality – both are driven in large chunks by multiple accounts with enormous followings tweeting exactly the same words.
Update note: Several of the accounts we originally featured here have since been disabled.
Prepare yourself for a short tangent.
At the time of writing, @TheTumblrPosts has 3.17 million followers, @JustAGirIThing has 1.61 million, and @girlydose has 219k.
Out of interest, we plugged these three accounts into Brandwatch Audiences to see what their followers look like, finding that they are, predictably, mostly female. Curiously, we also found significantly less followers attributed to these accounts in Audiences than are shown on their Twitter pages. Here are the numbers, followed by a potential explanations for this.
|Follower count displayed on Twitter at time of writing||Number of followers we found in Audiences at time of writing||% we didn't pick up|
Firstly, Audiences looks at active accounts, and if authors don’t appear in our search results it means we haven’t seen those accounts tweet since 2015 based on a 10% sample of all tweets. (So, basically, if they’ve tweeted or retweeted anything 10 times or more in the last three years they should have been picked up by Audiences). Another explanation is that the accounts have a pornographic or spam-related terms within their bios, although this likely wouldn’t make up for such a large discrepancy between the numbers.
What’s the conclusion we can take from these discrepancies?
We can’t draw too extreme conclusions, although we can say that it is likely that large chunks of each of these accounts’ followings are inactive (based on Audiences’ definition of inactivity set out above). That is, the numbers displayed on their Twitter pages may inflate the perceived influence they have in the real world, even if they can get a whole lot of people talking about rose gold.
Having done our detective work, we turned our attention back to the conversation.
Rose gold jewelry conversation is interesting because it’s pretty unpredictable. While we thought we’d see a steady trend upwards or downwards in interest, it’s actually all over the place.
That said, conversation around rose gold iPhones has been dipping since the height of it’s 2015 debut, and watch-related rose gold mentions have also seen a downward slide.
Are we witnessing the fall of rose gold, despite setting out to map its rise? It appears so. But, like we said, consumers are a fickle bunch and the right product, along with a few influencers, could see interest soaring again – that’s if a new color doesn’t take its place.