Fifty-six years after the “Pink Panther” character first appeared on the scene, the iconic figure has had its signature hue freshened up by Pantone.
The entertainment powerhouse Metro Goldwyn Mayer recruited the global color specialists to create the first “Pink Panther Pink.” Inspired by MGM’s iconic feline character, the new shade harks back to the Pink Panther’s favorite color but has blue and yellow undertones.
The widely recognized Pink Panther first debuted in the opening and closing credits of the detective series by the same name that started in 1964. Actor Peter Sellers, who played “Inspector Clouseau” in several of the film adaptations, defined that leading role. Fans’ interest in the Pink Panther led to a TV series, specials, comics, cartoons and a slew of merchandise. The Pink Panther is still one of MGM’s most well-known franchises. Created especially for MGM, Pink Panther Pink is not currently available in the Pantone library or any of the Pantone books.
MGM approached Pantone about the prospect of collaborating on the color that would mark the next chapter of the Pink Panther, according to Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “It was great fun. Whether you grew up with this character watching the cartoon, or it was something that you experienced later in your life in the cartoons, movies, clips or the music, it’s a character that is part of pop culture. And it’s a character that holds a special place in our hearts.”
The Pantone team sifted through old films and photos of the character to see how the Pink Panther’s color evolved in its various incarnations through the years. The end result is a slightly subtler pink that suits the character’s suave manner without losing sight of the character’s mischievousness and vibrancy, Pressman said. “It’s still very young, fresh and spirited but at the same time it’s not overwhelming or overpowering. That gives it wider appeal and more resonance over a longer period of time.” she said. “For lack of a better word, it is less ‘childlike,’ which is not to say a neon pink is childlike. This is a sophisticated character. We felt that going in this direction was more emblematic of the Pink Panther’s personality.”
“It wasn’t as simple as somebody saying, ‘Here’s the Pink Panther. Let’s just take this pink and make a pink,’” said Pressman, adding that working with “visual identity colors” requires not only paying homage to the past but also considering color psychology to ensure it captures the vibrancy that will attract a whole new audience and generation.
Numerous fashion, retail and beauty brands including H&M, Zara, Mimi Wade, Stereo Vinyls and Peaches & Cream have collaborated on Pink Panther merchandise. There are more than 120 licensees and a variety of experiential and gaming products for the Pink Panther are being explored, according to MGM’s executive vice president of global consumer products and experiences Robert Marick. While there are no plans for a film at this time, MGM has created a high concept design for the Pink Panther café and kiosk, he said.
“But Pink Panther remains one of MGM’s marquee brands and we are always exploring opportunities to bring it back to life in both film and TV,” Marick said.