HOW #THEDRESS SPAWNED A BRILLIANT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

Unless you’ve been living underneath a proverbial rock for the past week, you’ve heard of the online debate about #TheDress that’s been taking the world by storm. But to quickly recap: for some scientific reason or another, different people have been seeing the following photo of a dress as being either White and Gold or Black and Blue:

A cultural phenomenon, the dress has spawned hundreds of thousands of debates on social media networks such as Twitter and Tumblr, the photo’s origin, as to the color of the dress.

Of course, this amount of interest generated about one topic has marketers on the edge of their seats, searching for ways for their brands to join in on the conversations. Many thought to relate their products to the colors that seem to be at the center of it all – blue, black, white, gold – including the store that sold the original Black and Blue dress, Roman, who quickly promised a future White and Gold version. Others made deliberate, witty references to hashtag #TheDress (see: Scandal).

One brand, however, went above and beyond to hijack interest in the dress. And that brand just might surprise you.


Credit: The Salvation Army

The South African division of The Salvation Army took a brilliant leap into the heart of issue, transforming the hype towards the dress into a powerful message against domestic violence. Every word considered, the ad was perfect in the way that it evoked unity between those who see the dress as White and Gold and those who see the dress as Black and Blue, in the sense that both camps should care about something that actually matters: abuse.

And it does this flawlessly. Having the model don a white and gold dress (which, as we know from photos of the actual dress, is incorrect), The Salvation Army juxtaposes its purity to the the black and blue bruises shown on the model’s face, along with the following question: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”

A hashtag that was created to track conversations relating directly to the message, #StopAbuseAgainstWomen, helps create new forum for the expression of support towards abuse. The campaign piggy-backs off the popularity of #TheDress, yet still manages to shed a new light on a thought-provoking message. This coupled with International Women’s Day on March 8, strongly establishes the need for women’s rights and female equality, bringing the issue into the forefronts of people’s minds.

Two thumbs up for a powerful message perfectly executed.