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Internet

#TheDress becomes powerful ad for domestic violence awareness

"The only illusion is if you think it's her choice," reads a public service ad from the Salvation Army in South Africa

    by
  • CBS News Staff

#TheDress caused quite a stir when it hit the Internet, leaving many people wondering why some saw the garment as black and blue, while others perceived it as white and gold.

The Salvation Army in South Africa is wondering the same thing in a new Twitter PSA: "Why is it so hard to see black and blue?"

The organization posted a picture to its Twitter page on Friday as part of a campaign to bring awareness to domestic violence. It features a woman wearing an edited white and gold version of #TheDress. Her bruises are clearly visible -- they're black and blue.

"The only illusion is if you think it's her choice," the image reads. "One in 6 women are victims of abuse. Stop abuse against women."

"We have had nearly 2,000 tweets in the last two hours," the Salvation Army Southern Africa Territory Facebook page said about five hours after the PSA was posted.

As of Friday afternoon, more than 13,000 tweets mentioning "Salvation Army" and #TheDress had been sent, marking an overwhelmingly positive response. Some, however, have criticized the campaign as a hollow attempt to capitalize on an Internet meme.

So, what will the Salvation Army do next? Carin Holmes, public relations secretary for the Salvation Army in South Africa, told CBS News the organization has been "totally overwhelmed" by the attention, and is already considering a follow-up ad campaign.

Salvation Army headquarters believes this is the organization's biggest social-media PSA "explosion" worldwide, according to Holmes.

"We are honored to be able to bring awareness to this huge atrocity to the world," Holmes said.

The ad was created by South African advertising firm Ireland/Davenport. Its creative team came up with the idea and provided it to the Salvation Army, free of charge, within 24 hours.

"It was like Christmas morning," said Ireland/Davenport Creative Director Wihan Meerholz.

Meerholz says the whole experience shows just how powerful the Internet can be.

"The Internet is not just a space for insignificant gathering, but can spread a message that can make a change and a difference in people's lives," Meerholz said. "You do not only have the right to stand up for yourself, but also for each other."

This story originally appeared on CBSNews.com.