In February 2015, most of us saw at least one post about the famous dress, and whether the dress was black and royal blue, or white and gold.
At first, this picture was posted on Tumblr, but quickly became a trend when Buzzfeed posted about it on Facebook, and it went massively viral.
Not only people reposted the picture, and celebrities talked about it on their social media accounts, but even the biggest brands participated by using this trend to create content and benefit from the virality of this dress.
Many brands used this trend in their content like Tide, Lego, Dunkin’, McDonald’s, Oreo, M&M’s, KitKat, Crocs, and more.
Marketers and Marketing Managers love trends or Newsjacking because it boosts and benefits their SEO since the search about the topic is at its peak, it also increases the engagement since people understand what the brand is talking about. Using trends increases Brand Awareness.
When there are trend brands tend to hurry and use them, and in the end, they end up with quite similar or close content. The brand that stands up from the crowd, and gets the exposure, the engagement, and media coverage, is the brand that thinks differently, or the brand that has a real message to transmit, and uses the fact that many people are interested in the trend to convey a real message.
In South Africa, a Christian international charitable organization and church, called Salvation Army, decided to join the debate on the dress’ color, and use the trend for a noble cause which is generating awareness around domestic violence.
How did Salvation Army Turn a Trend to Domestic Violence Awareness?
They tweeted a picture of a bruised model wearing the famous white and gold dress, and asked a question: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue?”
And this time, the blue and black was not the dress, but these colors were across the model’s legs, knees, and eyes.
Since the Dress trend was based on people’s vision and illusion, they added a small caption saying “The only illusion is if you think it was her choice.” This means that domestic violence and abuse were never a woman’s choice.
When people were scrolling down Twitter, the dress captured their attention, and stopped to read what it was about, and discovered that 1 in 6 women was abused by her partner.
This Trendjacking was retweeted over 14,000 times and has passed the 15 million Reach.
The lesson that we can take from this tweet, is that domestic violence is never voiced or people choose not to see it. And on a Marketing level, before jumping on a viral trend, you need to make sure that the trend is somehow related to your brand, or you can use it in a clever way to make it related. And if you have something different and interesting use the trend, if not, don’t use it. We don’t want to see the same post and idea from all brands like what happened with Mostafa Torta.