Social Media

Color War: Brands Attempt to Cash In on the Great Dress Debate via Social Media

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Modern advertising: if it's trending on Twitter, you better believe major brands' social media experts are trying to figure out a way to tweet about it.

On Thursday, the internet found itself completely swept up in a debate about a dress: Is it blue and black or white and gold?

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People who saw blue and black couldn't imagine how anyone could see white and gold, and vice versa. Twitter was in an uproar. Buzzfeed's article on the reportedly drew more visitors to the site than any other article. Celebrities chimed in.

At this point, fast-food companies sprang into action, eager to hitch their wagon onto the beyond viral dress and get some free social media marketing.

Related: Domino's Wants Customers to Tattle on Franchisees Who Haven't Updated Their Signage

The flops.

In an era where slang like 'bae' has become part of social-media etymology for many brands, most attempts to bring the dress debate into marketing just seemed awkward. When every chain is going to tweet about a trending topic, brands need to either step up their social media game or change their tactics. It's worth noting that the chains most frequently linked to "millennial" customers, including Shake Shack, Chipotle, Starbucks and Taco Bell were, as of 10:45 a.m. ET, free of tweets regarding the dress debate.

The cheesiest.

For simplicity and timeliness, Pizza Hut beats out Domino's with 20 times as many retweets. (Papa John's, perhaps laying low on Twitter after the Iggy Azalea incident, did not speak out on the matter.)

Related: Shake Shack Is 100 Times More Successful Than McDonald's on Instagram, Analysts Say

The early bird.

IHOP didn't go overboard, but by tweeting last night, when all anyone online wanted to do was talk about The Dress with anyone possible, the chain managed to rack up more than 2,500 retweets in 12 hours. The only brand that had a wider social reach was Pizza Hut, another account that managed to get a tweet out late Thursday night.

The best.

While most chains' attempts at viral marketing seem shoehorned and uncomfortable, Denny's is constantly offering weird commentary, often on whatever has gone viral that day. When it comes to trying cash in on viral content, Denny's is the only Twitter reliably weird enough to make the Internet kind of make sense.

Related: Why KFC Is Developing an Edible Coffee Cup in the U.K.

Edition: December 2016

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