A campaign for the Salvation Army South Africa, conceptualised and implemented within 24 hours by Ireland/Davenport, became a global phenomenon on last Friday ahead of International Women’s Day. Within mere hours of appearing in The Times newspaper, the ad went viral and by that evening it was a global feature story, appearing in some of the world’s most respected media including CNN, NBC, The Telegraph, The Washington Post and Huffington Post.
The creative team at Ireland/Davenport questioned whether there was a way in which all the focus, attention and energy that came out of #TheDress meme – which for two weeks gripped the imagination of hundreds of millions around the world– could be put to good use. The result was an ad that features a bruised model wearing a gold and white version of #TheDress with the caption asking, ‘Why it is so hard to see black and blue?’
“The issue of black and blue was quite a clear and an obvious link to abuse. The creative idea was proposed on a pro-bono basis to Carehaven and The Salvation Army and the rest, as they say, is history. We’re thrilled with the reaction because focusing the spotlight on the issue is an important part of moving toward and finding a solution,” said Phil Ireland, chairman of Ireland/Davenport Group.
Virus, the specialist viral content marketing division of the Ireland/Davenport Group, was instrumental in extending the reach of this ground-breaking campaign. Initial figures from the Salvation Army show that the ad had in excess of 30.6m tweet impressions within 24 hours, 4.6m of these from the @SalvationArmySA account. The ad coincided with International Women’s Day on the 9 March and has since been carried in over 200 broadcast outlets, publications, news sites and blogs.
“Total reach for the ad is estimated to be well over 100 million. To our knowledge, no other South African brand has achieved this level of global awareness, much less in such a short space of time,” Ireland said.
It did not stop there and nor has the influx of international calls to Ireland/Davenport. International media want to use the campaign on billboards in their own communities. Closer to home, the campaign will be extended in other media outlets in the coming weeks.