vi : inserting non-printing characters

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# 1  
vi : inserting non-printing characters

I am trying to edit a syslinux msg file. I want to precede color codes with control characters. I have tried insert mode, then control v followed by the color code; however, I continue to get " [O " if I type the color code or enter ESC mode. How can I just insert say " ^L " ?
# 2  
Too little info to give a good answer, what is the reason for the control characters?
# 3  
I have setup a pxe linux server. I am trying to edit the boot.msg file. I want to customize it using various colors. I need to be able to put a control charcter followed by the color code. For example:

#vi boot.msg


^O0aWelcome to the Pxe Linux Installer^00a

Note: The would display "Welcome to the Pxe Linux Installer" in red text.
The color codes are in HEX. I am having trouble nserting the color code
after the control caret.
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