Earlier on Wednesday The Daily Voxâ€™s managing editor Faranaaz Parker chattedÂ with CarinÂ Holmes from The Salvation Army and Wihan Meerholtz from advertising agency Ireland/Davenport about theirÂ campaign againstÂ domestic abuse, featuring #thedress. Although the advert has goneÂ viral globally, it hasnâ€™t been without its critics. RAâ€™EESA PATHER rounds up what Holmes and Meerholtz hadÂ to say about the campaign.
1. Race and representation: choosing a model
According to the ad, one in six South African women are victims of abuse. BlackÂ people comprise the majority of South Africaâ€™s population, and are more often the victimsÂ of crime. Meerholtz said that the (white) model chosen was available on the day, and that â€œifÂ there was more timeâ€ the team â€œwouldâ€™ve applied a black woman to it as wellâ€.
â€œWe didnâ€™t have the actual dress. That [the dress] was dropped [into] PhotoshopÂ to be able to create the illusion of the actual dress [being] put on,â€ MeerholtzÂ said. â€œWe were only able to find a certain size of a white dress to be able to applyÂ to our model currently.â€
2. Translating online success into real-world impact
In a digital age, where clicktivism has become the new activism, many have asked how successful the ad campaign has been in promoting behaviourial change and helping victimsÂ in the real world.
â€œThe success can already be measured with the fact that weâ€™re here having thisÂ interview,â€ Meerholtz said.Â He added that Ireland/Davenport had received phone calls from across Europe toÂ Canada, while Holmes said that more than 200 international media platforms hadÂ reported on the advertisement.
According to Holmes, the magnitude of the response, which she said includedÂ 30.5-millionÂ tweets, was unexpected.Â â€œI’m still doing interviews, so it really has taken social-media networks by force;Â itâ€™s amazing.â€ Holmes said.
Meerholtz added that Ireland/Davenport were putting up a billboard for the ad,Â and that the agency had been offered an SMS donation line to rise funds for the Salvation Army.
3. The bottom line: letâ€™s talk moolah
But with the advert running to help those in need of assistance, how much money has beenÂ raised to provide the care that is needed?
â€œWe havenâ€™t seen the money yet, and certainly we do not want this to be aÂ financial gain. Thatâ€™s the last thing that we want. If this ad can help a woman, aÂ man, an individual to come out and speak out to say â€˜Iâ€™m a victim, I need helpâ€™,Â then it has done its work,â€ Holmes said.
She added that their goal is encourage victims of abuse to speak out and take aÂ stand.
What are yourÂ thoughts on the advert? Share your comments with us below. And if you didnâ€™t catch our hangout live, you can watch the fascinating, full interview here: