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Using social media trends to target abuse

Hot on the heels of the great dress debate that challenged people's perceptions of colour around the world, is the Salvation Army's advert which was released showing the controversial dress in a whole new light.

The advert, which featured a model in a white and gold version of the dress with several bruises painted on her body, asked readers why it is so hard to see black and blue.

Created on Thursday, and published in the Cape Argus on Friday, March 6th 2015, the advert went viral on social media, with the Salvation Army receiving over 17 000 retweets, and reaching approximately 30,6 million twitter accounts around the world, said Major Carin Holmes, PR secretary for The Salvation Army, Southern Africa Territory.

The advert, created by Johannesburg-based media agency Ireland Davenport for the Salvation Army, was born out of the desire to do something positive with the dress debate, and the rest, says Holmes, is history. “We are absolutely overwhelmed and are so grateful for the awareness.”

The advert has since been carried in around 200 international publications, including news websites and blogs. This number is ‘conservative’, according to Holmes, and is just what has been counted thus far.

The advert appearing just two days before International Women’s Day is a coincidence, said Holmes. The advert was used in publications like The Telegraph and CNN over Women’s Day weekend.

Included in the Salvation Army’s repertoire of good work is a shelter for abused women in Cape Town, which caters for up to 60 women at a time, as well as their children. The shelter runs an empowerment programme focusing on healing the whole person, and equipping her to deal with future problems more effectively. A statement released to the media on Friday said that to date, the shelter has helped 5000 women and children, providing among other things “safety, professional counselling, support groups and access to medical care”.

READ MORE: The great dress debate

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