February 27, 2015

How #TheDress Beat Content Marketing Black & Blue


Blue and black? White and gold?

We awoke this morning to a world divided, and to a perfect case study in the power of simplicity.

What colours are this dress?

A simple question, (clearly it’s white and gold) posted on tumblr by an unassuming young Scottish woman in order to settle a debate with friends.

Cut to 13 hours later and the original post has nearly 417,000 notes and rising, (either likes, or reblogs) and having been picked up by BuzzFeed, the image has been screengrabbed, shared and frantically sent to entire address books in desperation, right across the globe.

Amid the baffled morning tweets from the highly-confused emerged a very simple lesson: don’t underestimate the power of simple, or indeed, the power of tumblr

Tumblr is a hive of highly-engaged, passionate communities and offers just the right mix of opportunity for both passive and active engagement to allow people at all levels to feel part of something.

If you are unfamiliar with tumblr, BuzzFeed has handily become the go-to documenter  of the best of the platform, perfectly walking the line between celebrating and appealing to the communities it highlights, while also offering the uninitiated that easy-to-read but comprehensive snapshot of the cultural phenomenon, as is the BuzzFeed style.

Crucially, BuzzFeed are active on the platform. The one-of-us peer mentality is a powerful one, and a very powerful one on tumblr, and it is this that brands and organisations need to be both aware of and sympathetic to.

Now comes the question of how those careful, savvy brands and organisations can begin to authentically engage with or engineer these kind of interactions for themselves, to maximum effect.

As for the content, it can be tempting to over-engineer or overthink an idea and somewhat understandably try to cram absolutely everything about your campaign, strategy and company’s founding principles in to 3 and a half minutes, brand guidelines and all, but simple ideas, with simple engagement mechanics, that still align completely with your overall strategy and vision can be very effective.

Was a brand involved this time? At the time of writing, no (call me cynical!) but do hundreds, nay, thousands wish they had been?

For once, a question that there’s only one possible answer to.

Abi Jenkins, Account Executive @ Livity, 27.2.2015

  • Sam Boggis-Rolfe

    Very interesting Abi. Simplicity should always be the goal.

    • Abi Jenkins

      Thanks Sam! I agree. Out of curiosity, black and blue, or white and gold?

      • Sam Boggis-Rolfe

        Black and blue. I find it almost impossible to conceive white and gold.