Last week we talked about “The Dress” and the importance of trends. We are going to assume that vast majority of you reading this have some idea of what “the dress” is, but if you don’t know what it is and you've evaded #TheDress, congratulations.
“The Dress” became a viral sensation by an optical illusion changing the colour of a blue and black dress to white and gold for some. Whilst news channels and 24/7 media feasted on what was an easy story, many companies immediately jumped on the bandwagon of trying to make “The Dress” part of their content marketing for the week. As we discussed in last week’s post, it worked for some but proved dangerous for others.
As fun as it was last week poking fun at some terrible attempts of jumping on the dress trend, we thought it would only be fair to look at some examples of fantastic content marketing that came out from “The Dress”.
It is a sad fact that firms with a large following online get more praise regarding their marketing than the small company plugging away. Also, even if a small firm does create something, a larger marketing firm may pinch it as their content strategy and get the overall credit. Thankfully “The Dress” did not throw up such issues but rather saw some companies utilise the trend well.
Manchester United, who have a black and blue away kit took to Twitter and Facebook to praise their gold and white kit, with Hamilton Accies doing the same. Others such as Just Eat and McMillan tried to capitalise on the issue with small pockets of genius shown by companies as they cashed in on the trend. However, no piece of marketing from the dress was praised more than the Salvation Army in South Africa, who utilised the black and blue dress to raise awareness of domestic abuse.
The Salvation Army posted a picture of a female in a white and gold dress with the caption “Why Is It So Hard To See Black And Blue”. The woman in the picture had a black eye, and black and bruises across her arm and legs and had clearly been the victim of domestic abuse. The post immediately gained global interest and was quickly shared by numerous news agencies. The post from the Salvation Army made those who had been sick of seeing posts about the dress stand up and take notice once more. Furthermore, the post from the Salvation Army showed how vital trends can be and demonstrate then even a trend about something that is not serious issue can be developed into something much greater.
The Salvation Army designed their post specifically for social media demonstrating the importance of social, but also demonstrating how media has changed and could become global. Arguably, the Salvation Army could be accused of newsjacking by adding to the topic about THAT dress, but making those who see it think completely different about it.
Matthew Sherrington, director at Inspiring Action Consultancy, praised the campaign but urged people to see it and look into the issue more. He said: “In this case, Salvation Army in South Africa, where violence against women is particularly endemic, has simply and effectively ridden the viral wave of the #TheDress, and exposed people through something frivolous to something deadly serious.
“An effective juxtaposition that gives people pause for thought. From the conversation can come questions, and the challenge is to think how you take that conversation on. The poster has be seen for what it is, as an opportunistic communication amidst others that hopefully address the issues more fully.”
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