A seemingly innocuous image of a dress was uploaded on Tumblr by user “Swiked” aka Caitlin McNeill, calling on readers to “help” her decide if the colour of the dress was White and Gold, or Blue and Black. The dress not only caused polarized reactions between the user and her friends, but within days, the entire internet as well, splitting netizens into two camps of which saw a different pair of colours.
Roman Originals, the UK company that sold the dress, reported a significantly higher than expected 347% increase in Friday’s sales, attributed to the attention created by the dress which led to purchase of other items. While the trigger point originated in the UK, interest rapidly gained overseas and eventually reached Southeast Asia.
We at Isentia sought to examine the virality and spread of #thedress across the region.
Collectively across the five Southeast Asian countries, online buzz swelled to 17,961 just within 3 days, with Singapore accounting for highest buzz followed by Philippines.
Many individuals have weighed in to explain the phenomenon. As explained by Cork Gaines from Business Insider, the shades of colour sit in-between the gold-black and white-blue spectrums causing the resulting colour seen by individuals to be dependent on how sensitive the individual is to lighter or darker colours.
Various social media sites were inundated with posts. Many businesses in the region quickly capitalised on the hype of #thedress. Singapore budget carrier Scoot quickly turned the Internet sensation into a competition on Facebook between both camps – White and Gold or Blue and Black. Each would unlock a different set of promotional fares once declared the winner. While McDonald’s Philippines took the chance to showcase on Twitter one its Caramel Sundae which is both White and Gold in colour.
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