IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Dress Meme Used in Salvation Army Anti-Violence Campaign

The Salvation Army uses an Internet sensation in a campaign against domestic violence.
Image: A Salvation Army ad against domestic violence
A Salvation Army ad against domestic violenceThe Salvation Army South Africa

The Salvation Army in South Africa has adapted last week’s viral sensation — the color-confusing dress — to help stop abuse against women.

In a campaign on social media, a woman lies on her side, her face and legs bruised and cut. She is wearing a white and gold version of the dress. The caption reads: “Why is it so hard to see black and blue.”

“The only illusion is if you think it was her choice,” the text says. “One in six women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women.”

The South African ad agency Ireland Davenport came up with the idea and took it to the Salvation Army.

“We were discussing how the dress has become a massive talking point around the world, but it was not saying anything,” David Sutherland, an account director at the agency, told NBC News. “We tried to figure out a way in which we could leverage off of the popularity of THE dress and actually use it for good.”

The campaign comes just ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8.

“Firstly, we hope to raise awareness against the atrocity of women abuse,” Carin A. Holmes, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, told NBC News on Friday.

Holmes said she hopes the campaign will especially bring attention to the Salvation Army’s work with CareHaven, a South African residential shelter for women and children who have been abused or trafficked.

Last week, the Internet argued over whether a picture showed the dress in blue and black or white and gold. #TheDress trended worldwide on Twitter, with 11 million mentions within the first day of the story.



— Emmanuelle Saliba