Depending on where you live, you can now purchase a GE Artistry refrigerator with a bright blue or brilliant red finish.
It's not an expression of geographic bias on the part of GE. Instead, it's part of a trial run to see if those colors—labeled Cupcake Blue and Red Pepper—resonate with consumers. If the fridges sell at select retailers in Utah, Nevada, Idaho, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa, they might end up on sale across the country.
"We've partnered with three great retail partners who like to experiment," said Lou Lenzi, GE Appliance's director of industrial design. "These retailers are having success with the Artistry line, so their showrooms are perfect locations to see if this trend toward more colorful appliances is ready for mainstream."
Test marketing is one of the oldest tricks in business. Sending a new flavor of energy drink to select grocery stores in Albany, for instance, is how a beverage manufacturer could predict sales throughout the whole country.
However, it's unusual is to see such a small-scale rollout of such a large product. Building a fridge is complicated and—if neither Cupcake Blue nor Red Pepper takes off—saddling retailers with such physically large inventory is risky.
But GE seems to have chosen the right product for the challenge. The Artistry fridge is based on a retro design from a time period when fridges came in as many colors as cars. The appliance market as a whole seems to be cautiously moving towards new finishes that challenge stainless steel—including Whirlpool's new Sunset Bronze and LG's Contour Glass, both of which debuted this week. GE's own Slate has significant regional popularity.
Both finishes will go on sale for an MSRP of $1,500. They'll reach Nebraska Furniture Mart, RC Willey and Appliance Factory in select states in early January.