Need I say more? This dress drove the Internet crazy last Thursday however who is the brand is behind it and why haven’t we heard from them?
Black and blue or white and gold arguments aside, a single image of a dress on Tumblr had so many high profile people and brands converging in a simple debate. From Ellen DeGeneres and Taylor Swift, even Australian MPs and the Singaporean Prime Minister were getting in on the action! Buzzfeed (who sent the images viral from Tumblr) reported a record number of simultaneous visits to the site – 670 000 people – most of them interested in ‘that dress’. More than 10 million people read the sites first story within the hour and 900 000 participated in a poll debating the colour.
The Internet has an amazing ability to bring people from all over the world together and provides opportunities for brands to communicate with mass audiences in an acceptable fashion, insanely fast. The concept of reaching over 10 million people worldwide, with a single article in an hour in phenomenal. Now imagine if it was your brand reaching all these people. The brand behind ‘that dress’ had the opportunity to provide an explanation behind the optical illusion and in the process, announce their brand to thousands of people.
I was disappointed Roman Originals, the brand behind the dress, did not release a statement with an explanation given the reach of the images and engagement. In fact took some Google searching to establish who the brand actually was. The fact so many potential consumers were already engaging in the debate provided an easy opportunity for the brand to capitalize on these consumers. It has been reported the Roman Originals site crashed due to exponential searching of the dress. Something I learnt from the GSA Summit is to be prepared for the unlikely scenario that everyone in the world will want to access your site at the same time, be prepared for this scale. Buzzfeed added 40% server capacity to handle the coverage of this story. Maybe this is why there was no communication from Roman Originals, maybe they didn’t have the infrastructure to expect their capacity. I still feel they missed a massive opportunity, which was capitalized on by other brands.
Not only did it provide Roman Originals with a fabulous opportunity to access the world, other brands also chimed in on the action. These brands included Nissan, Specsavers and Lego. The social media teams of these brands picked up on a social phenomenon at the right time, demonstrating humor of the brands as well as an ability to incorporate ‘news’ into their campaigns. It is these ‘ads’ that get shared virally, gaining exposure for the brand, because they blur the lines between advertising and everyday social media.