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It was the dress that it seemed like the entire world was talking about. Blue and black? Or gold and white? Pretty well every social media platform was blowing up over the debate that became widely known as ‘#TheDress.’

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With International Women’s Day just around the corner, Ireland/ Davenport, a Johannesburg-based ad agency, decided to ride the tail-end of this viral dress to raise awareness about domestic violence.

In partnership with the Salvation Army, the advertising agency released a powerful ad that features a badly bruised women donning a gold and white dress much like the one argued about in the online debate.

Here is the ad being run:


The text on the ad states:

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Headline: Why is it so hard to see black and blue
Copy: One in six women are victims of abuse. That’s no illusion.
Bottom Text: If you need help or are able to help, contact us…

While some may classify the ad as difficult to look at, the issue itself is one that cannot be avoided. Just as we were all able to use our online social voices to spread the controversial dress, we also hold the same power to spread awareness about things that actually matter and can have an impact.

As Wihan Meerholz, the creative director behind the dress brilliantly stated:

“We just thought it was so weird something so insignificant like that dress was getting all this hype while a true message (about) anti-women abuse was more deserving.”

After designing the advertisement, the agency gave The Salvation Army 45 minutes to decide whether or not they wanted to have their logo associated with the ad. The well-known global charity quickly jumped on the campaign that since its release has gone relatively viral, and hopefully through this article it will continue to grow.

Carin Holmes, a spokesperson for The Salvation Army had this to say about the campaign:

“We went for it straightaway because domestic violence is such a huge problem, not only in the world but in here in South Africa…”

“Women don’t even speak about it, they keep quiet…It’s definitely a real problem.”

“It’s not about the Salvation Army, it’s about the problem. If we can save one lady through this, that’s good enough.”

What are your thoughts on this advertising campaign? Whether or not you agree with it, let this be a reminder to you of how powerful and interconnected we all are because of social media. Domestic violence is just one of too many issues that need to be addressed in this world, many of which we can collectively bring to the surface by using our online tools effectively.


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