If you stay online on Thursday night, you must feel overwhelmed under a heated debate on a woman’s dress. At the beginning, I see it an ordinary black and blue dress without any distinguished feature and from my personal perspective, there’s no aesthetics about the dress. So I am wandering why this dress deserves such attention. Until some of my friends said it is a white and gold dress, I realize the mysterious behind this dress and then I repost the picture on my social media account, which is overrun with comments about the colors of the dress.
The picture and debate are originated from a girl called Swiked, who post the picture on Tumblr out of curiosity, trying to figure out what is the exact color of this dress. It may be surprising for the girl that her post arose such a great disturbance on social media, but it is not astonishing for BuzzFeed to spot this story on Tumblr and make use this post to drive significant traffics. By the next day’s midnight, the dress story is still a hot topic both online and offline. The website claims that this debate drew more visitors to the site at one time than ever before.
On Twitter hashtag #TheDress has maintain the No.1 trending topic for almost 24 hours. Also, according to BuzzFeed, the dress debate driven more than 670,000 people to the site and there are 500,000 of them visit through mobile devices, and half of those visitors read and comment about the dress.
Admittedly, the word “viral marketing” is not a commendatory term and people will take two steps back when they heard about virus. But you cannot deny its strong adaptability which makes them thrive in the right environment and the great marketing influence exerting by viral marketing. Just like virus, viral marketing strategy take advantage of rapid multiplication to spread massages to millions of people. According to the viral marketing definition, it describes a strategy encouraging audience to pass on marketing messages to one another and creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Viral marketing is also referred to as word-of-mouth or buzz creation. In the dress case, the debate was an effective format of viral marketing and BuzzFeed is a big winner benefiting from it. Adam Shlachter, chief investment officer at DigitasLBi, said “The brilliance of Buzzfeed is its ability to spot topics and content on the rise, before they tip, and use all their channels and modes of distribution to spread them to a massive audience.” Apparently, BuzzFeed was overwhelmed with traffic brought by the fervently discussed debate. The debate has engaged fashionistas, color scientists, and a-list celebrities.
If we think more deeply, we may find the dress story serves as bait for advertisers. Buzzfeed consistently perfected the story by adding creative plus content and scientific explanation and consequently, owned the Internet for hours. Gian LaVecchia, managing partner-digital content marketing at media agency MEC, said in an email “We could begin to witness some interesting creative applications emerge”. BuzzFeed actually wins himself new business. Imagine ads buyers sit down and talk with their clients and the client asks for something viral, and then the ad buyers will think of the dress, and thus think of BuzzFeed. Since advertising is how BuzzFeed makes all its money, it is absolutely a big winner thanks to the ugly dress.