#TheDress Refitted for Salvation Army Domestic Violence PSA


The Salvation Army in South Africa leveraged the recent Internet phenomenon, #TheDress," and turned it into a compelling PSA to raise awareness around the issue of domestic abuse.

The still-image ad features a model laying on her side with large bruises and cuts on her legs and face, while wearing a white and gold version of the dress that split the Internet in two last week. The image displays text to the right of the woman that asks, “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”

Jumping on Internet trends to increase your brand’s footprint is nothing new for communicators in the age of immediacy.  Brands have attempted to “newsjack” everything from the World Cup to the Arab Spring protests in Egypt with varying levels of success.

The Salvation Army’s ad provides a poignant example of the necessary delicacy and care needed when co-opting a viral trend.

The ad succeeds because it keeps in line with the original narrative—the discrepancy between seeing either blue and black or white and gold—while tweaking the message in a powerful, consciousness-raising, easily recognizable way.

It also doesn't hurt to do your research. Otherwise you could end up like DiGiorno when it used #WhyIStayed to promote pizzas when the conversation was actually about domestic abuse survivors sharing their stories.