Pantone Has Created a Custom Color for United Way Canada to Help Highlight Social Issues

‘Unignorable’ hue seeks to unify causes

Colors and issues that cannot be ignored. - Credit by United Way Canada / Taxi
Headshot of Minda Smiley

United Way is a sprawling nonprofit that doesn’t have one particular focus area: with nearly 1,800 local affiliates around the world, the org works on issues ranging from sanitation access in India to unemployment in Africa.

While all its causes are surely worthy, it’s often challenging for United Way to express what exactly it does and what sort of impact it has in the communities it seeks to help. That’s why its Canadian chapter recently tapped Taxi, a Toronto-based agency, to help it unify its messaging and brand in Canada so that people who live there have a clearer understanding of what the nonprofit does.

To help bring United Way’s many causes—which include food security, financial stability and domestic violence—under one umbrella, Taxi worked closely with Pantone to create a signature color for the organization that’s meant to embody the word “unignorable.” In a campaign by the same name, the custom color is weaved throughout in striking ways to drive home United Way’s point that its causes, while varied, all share one common thread: each is too serious to be ignored.

Taxi created a series of powerful six-second ads that feature the color, which the agency describes as a “striking neon coral.” In one ad, the color appears in the form of an eviction notice that a family struggling with poverty receives. In another, the color makes its way onscreen as a rectangular lunch tray that a hungry child uses to eat her crackers while her classmates enjoy their meals.

The color is also a mainstay in illustrations created by Malika Favre, whose work has appeared on the cover of The New Yorker. The campaign, which made its debut at Toronto’s Nuit Blanche art festival last month, includes online video, out-of-home, social content and contextual installations.

“This campaign is United Way’s largest integrated public awareness campaign to date and a fresh, contemporary approach for our trusted brand,” said Goodwin Gibson, United Way’s SVP of donor relations and marketing. “Taxi’s passion and commitment to United Way’s mission has created a campaign that we believe will help us engage even more Canadians in our fight against local poverty in all its forms.”

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@Minda_Smiley Minda Smiley is an agencies reporter at Adweek.