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Marketing excellence with a dress that went viral

Published March 2, 2015 at 9:57 am


Anyone active on social media last week almost certainly encountered a bizarre viral trend that caught the internet’s attention. What started as a photo posted on Tumblr, in which the users asked if viewers saw a dress as blue and black or white and gold, later became a cultural phenomenon. Commenters argued for their own interpretations, attempted to explain the color discrepancy using science and made fun of the entire trend.

While this doesn’t appear to have been a conscious campaign promoting anything, there have been some interesting commercial repercussions. Sales of the dress have reportedly soared through the roof since it went viral, and Peter Christodoulou, one of the co-founders of the company that produces the dress, has achieved more exposure as a result. Is there a way other companies can follow this example as they embark on multi channel marketing?

Writing for Forbes, Ilya Pozin identifies the elements of “The Dress” that made it such a sensation. Among other things, he said it was the inherent competition over the dress’ color that created opinionated sharers who actively wanted to drive the trend.

“When it comes to marketing, you want a motivated audience,” Pozin writes. “Much like fans, that audience will share your message with their own social circles due to sheer passion that comes from the belief that your brand is the right choice, just like the color they see is.” He also says that this dress provided a break from the norm and some levity that made it stand out against the daily routine for online users.

Not every viral trend on Twitter and Facebook will be applicable to your own brand, but paying attention to what’s popular always shows which topics are more likely to reach a large number of people. Working with marketing management software, businesses will have more control over how they release their content and can take advantage of each platform.

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