February 27, 2015 By integrate

Repeat After Me… The Dress is Black and Blue

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#DressGate2015 (yes, it’s now a thing) has quickly become one of the biggest (and most surprising) virtual controversies within the last 24 hours. The Internet had a meltdown, friendships were ruined and relationships were broken (okay, maybe we’re exaggerating just a little bit here) because no one can agree on if this dress was white and gold or black and blue. Millions of active social media users took the dress debate to the Internet and quickly making the issue such a trending topic that Google will automatically know what you’re looking for if you simply type “black and blue” into the search bar. Crazy, right?

As PR professionals and social media fanatics, this craze irritated many of us but also fascinated those who look at virality as one of the many wonders of the Internet.

Here’s some background information for those of you who may have missed the dress debacle:

~ The first photo of the dress was taken and posted by Scottish singer, Caitlin McNeill on Tumblr because she was confused on what color the dress really was. It was a dress that belonged to her mom’s friend and after having the debate with her friends on the color of the dress; she took this to the Internet to ask the Tumblr community, like any other person who’s active on social media would.

~ Within minutes, the photo went viral and the Internet broke down. Multiple celebrities and even politicians commented and gave their own two cents. It was hilarious and frustrating for many, but ultimately no one ever agreed with each other. There was also the opposing hashtags #blackandblue and #whiteandgold roaming around the Twittersphere as if the country just divided on this debacle. My favorite was definitely the hashtag I mentioned earlier, #DressGate2015. It accumulated the best memes and more than anything, hilarious conspiracy theories.

~Kim Kardashian, and many others believed that this was an issue for those who are colorblind, but we soon found out that it had nothing to do with a diagnosis of this nature.

~Turns out, it was just poor lighting in the original photo that contributed to the confusion. While, we all see things differently, this is a fantastic example of how a poor-quality photo can cause an issue for a brand.  Because  of the photo’s high exposure and low saturation, the dress was an optical illusion to many.

~So where are we now? UK store, Roman, came forward to share the truth behind the infamous dress and if you look online, you’ll notice that the dress isn’t sold in white or gold. Sorry non-believers, the dress is black and blue. However, the brand exploded overnight so much that the dress sold-out and they are even planning to order the gold and white version of the dress all because of the national coverage and success they received.

Through this debate, we noticed hundreds of memes, hashtags and even a Twitter account that hopped on board the #dressgate train by the second. Ignoring the harsh words and angry discussions, we’re most fascinated by the ultimate realization that consumers were comfortable with being involved in something so weird. We thought to ourselves, “who really has the time to debate the color of the dress and the many conspiracies behind this illusion?” As it turns out, for a few hours, nothing else seemed to matter and everyone we follow on social media was enamored by the dilemma. Side blue and black or side white and gold, we were all discussing this, across all social media channels like Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram and more.

It’s crazy to think how even the most irrelevant social media debates can turn into a business’s biggest success by accident. Optical illusions are around us all the time, so what made this different? Virality. Celebrities were involved, memes were made and thousands of people wanted to be heard. It could even be the fact that this was the regular person wanting to become the next Internet celebrity, and they were all trying to tweet things that would be easy to go viral. Reaction videos aren’t famous for nothing, the same thing happened here. Did you think the dress was black and blue or white and gold at first? Let us know and shoot us a tweet!

Written By Nancy Gutierrez