Salvation Army uses #TheDress in powerful domestic violence ad

The dress that divided the internet has been repurposed for a powerful campaign from Salvation Army.

The dress that divided the internet has been repurposed for a powerful campaign from Salvation Army.

The dress that inspired a thousand think pieces has been repurposed for a noble cause, featuring at the centre of a powerful advertising campaign against domestic violence. 

The South African chapter of the Salvation Army has co-opted "the black and blue" or "white and gold" debate that consumed the WiFi-ed world last week to deliver a potent message about the invisibility of the epidemic of violence against women. 

The image, which was posted to the Salvation Army's South African Twitter account, features a heavily bruised woman wearing an indisputably white and gold version of "The Dress", overlayed with the words: "Why is it so hard to see black and blue?"

It continues: "The only illusion is if you think it was her choice."


Last week, "The Dress" became a viral phenomenon, after it became apparent that two people viewing the same image of the dress could see a very different coloured garment. 

A Buzzfeed poll, which received more than 3 million votes, revealed 68 per cent of people saw a white and gold dress compared with 32 per cent who saw black and blue. The original poster of the image later confirmed the dress was indeed black and blue.

Scarcely a corner of the internet escaped the "The Dress" debate, prompting a slew of media outlets to declare it the "dress that broke the internet".  

But with the internet still fully functioning, the Salvation Army's campaign is now achieving viral status in its own right.

It is also reaping wide praise on social media for delivering a cut-through message on domestic violence - an issue that has notoriously struggled to permeate the public conscience, and one which is often sidelined in the competition for government funding. 

Domestic violence has been given a national platform in Australia this year, after Rosie Batty was awarded the 2015 Australian of the Year for her outspoken response to her son's murder at the hands of his violent father. 

In Australia, the statistics on violence against women have stagnated at horror levels. One in three women have experienced physical violence since the age of 15, and almost one in five will experience sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Salvation Army's campaign coincides with International Women's Day on Sunday, March 8.