How brands fit into #TheDress on Twitter

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Last Thursday, a question about the color of a dress sparked an international online debate — and more than 11M Tweets.

Some users saw #TheDress, worn at a Scottish wedding by the mother of the bride, as #whiteandgold. Others saw it as #blackandblue. And many brands saw it as the perfect opportunity to join a real-time global conversation in a fun, natural way.

Here’s how a handful of brands from a variety of industries gained exposure, generated engagement and strengthened brand love by Tweeting about the trend. Colorful, clever and favorited by thousands, these Tweets are great examples of how brands can use Twitter to be part of moments that matter.

@Xbox was one of the first to pounce on the trend early Thursday evening, Tweeting a simple-yet-striking image of an @Xbox controller.

@eBay invited users to get a closer look at the dress on its website, where it’s available for purchase from @romanoriginals.

@LEGO_Group charmed its audience by showing two Minifigures modeling the options.

And @BehrPaint suggested looking to its ColorSmart mobile app for an answer.

People still talk about @Oreo’s 2013 Super Bowl Tweet. When it came to #TheDress, the iconic cookie didn’t disappoint.

@Oreo may have been “fashionably late,” but the party was just beginning. @Ford offered users a compromise illustrated by a GIF (and added a new hashtag to redirect the conversation).

@Tide used the color question as an opportunity to promote its color-preserving detergent.

And @Fitbit encouraged users to put the debate aside to focus instead on its wristbands.

We learned three things from the way #TheDress conversation unfolded about reacting to a trend:

1. Make the most of your canvas. Rich media matters. Before joining the conversation, create a custom eye-catching image, GIF, Twitter Card or Promoted Video to set your Tweet apart.

2. Keep an eye on the clock. Even if a few hours — or days — have passed since a trend first appeared, it might not be too late to share your two cents. But if you do, don’t ignore the fact you’re not first. Craft a time-appropriate message.

3. Don’t shoehorn. Users love when brands join conversations in subtle, sophisticated or unexpected ways, like those listed above. At the same time, they can also sense when product connections feel forced. The best Tweets come across as conversational and effortless.

Want to see another example of how a brand reacted to a moment in real time? Read our Q&A with @Chevy about their epic #TechnologyAndStuff Tweet.