#thedress and Domestic Violence – An Example of Sound Campaign Planning


No one could believe that something that seemed as trivial as #thedress could create so much controversy and engagement internationally.

While there were many brands that jumped on board with their own social media posts related to #thedress, no one has created as much impact as The Salvation Army South Africa.

The key to their success is that The Salvation Army has taken the key point of discussion regarding the dress – its colours, white and gold or black and blue and positioned this effectively around the issue of domestic violence.

#thedress campaign developed by The Salvation Army South Africa

#thedress campaign developed by The Salvation Army South Africa

Putting plans into action can be tricky and The Salvation Army South Africa has been able to successfully put forth its message about domestic violence, at a point where the initial buzz around #thedress was coming to an end.#the

Having a week to plan its response has enabled the organisation to reflect back on its objectives, and take advantage of International Women’s Day to capitalise on an opportunity with worldwide reach to create impact.

The success of this campaign is demonstrated through its rapid spread via social media. Media outlets such as People Magazine and Cosmopolitan have tweeted about the campaign and the People Magazine tweet alone has been retweeted over 2500 times.

So what can we take away from this? Real Time Marketing can be successful in the not-for-profit sector just as it can be in a commercial context. To ensure success, it is important to be aware of trending topics and how they might relate to your narrative and key messages. Take the time to plan the perfect message, as it doesn’t matter if your message is delayed. Being a week late may even assist in being able to stand out from the multitude of brands trying to capitalize on the same trend.

*I have written this post with the help of Kelly Furness our Marketing Intern.

Natalia Perera

Author Natalia Perera

Natalia is Syneka Marketing’s Innovation and Strategic Insights Director. In her role she creates out of the box solutions that enable our clients to stand out from the crowd. Natalia is detail focused, creative and business savvy. She understands how to develop content that facilitates growth, and enables our clients to succeed.

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