'The Dress' Ad Goes Viral, Too
Is Salvation Army message on domestic violence on target or too frivolous?
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2015 8:29 AM CST
Here's the PSA from the Salvation Army.   (Salvation Army)

(Newser) – Last week's viral sensation—what color is the The Dress—is this week's viral ad. As you may have seen, the Salvation Army in South Africa piggy-backed on the dress meme to deliver a public service announcement about domestic violence, notes Mashable. "Why is it so hard to see black and blue" asks the headline. The smaller print: "The only illusion is if you think it was her choice. One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women."

Reaction has been largely positive, but that sentiment isn't unanimous. Two examples:

  • Great: "Brands don’t always make the best decisions about how to make use of viral content," writes Abby Phillip at the Washington Post. "But this time, it appears the Salvation Army stuck the right tone."
  • Not so great: "It's a nice and well-intentioned message, if a little simplified," writes Tara Culp-Ressler at Talking Points Memo. She notes that studies suggest pervasive marketing around breast cancer causes people to take the issue less seriously, and the same danger applies here. We already know domestic violence happens, right? "In that context, perhaps connecting The Dress to issues of gender-based violence doesn’t elevate the conversation to a more significant or pressing place. It brings a complex issue down to a level of soundbytes and days-old memes."