What Charities Should Know About Using Viral Memes For Marketing Campaigns

So, are social memes the shock tactic future of charity campaigns?

Charities have long been criticised for using shock tactics in their advertising to elicit donations or gain support for a policy campaign. In fact, a few have even come under fire from the Advertising Standards Authority and many believe that charities’ images depicting starving children in Africa with flies on their face is in not only a misrepresentation but is also damaging the view of the continent, which is flourishing economically.

With social media, it was inevitable that these shock tactics would move from a newspaper page to our screens. What’s different about this example from The Salvation Army South Africa is that it’s a campaign that’s deliberately been created from a social meme – a proper campaign that needed models, a photographer, a copywriter and time. Oh and THAT dress. Not a ‘jump on the bandwagon’ newsjacking tweet. So has it worked?