How Kenneth Cole Lost Thousands of Customers in 1 Easy Step

Kenneth Cole, international shoe brand and fashion trend-setter, decided to comment on the horrific situation in Egypt this morning. In past blog posts, we’ve explored how your small business can leverage timely events to boost marketing efforts, but we didn’t mean like this:

What do you think happened? Perhaps this might have been funny (to some?) behind closed doors, but for an established, trusted brand with decades of history and equity? Surprisingly, this tweet has not been removed (yet). Here are a just few of the responses – which already number in the thousands. You can also search “KennethCole” at search.twitter.com to look at what’s happening real-time – and their inevitable corporate response.
Any company that embraces social media must realize that there is a fine line between funny and flippant – or in this case, between appropriate and offensive. While it’s unlikely that Kenneth Cole had any malicious intentions, it’s important to recognize that years of goodwill can be undone by a careless, momentary lapse in judgment.
Update: a spoof Twitter account has already been opened taking aim at the brand – @KennethColePR. A sample tweet: “Our new looks are dropping faster than the World Trade Center

What do you think – did the company go too far, or was it an innocent mistake?


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  2. Mark Stuart Ellison Says:

    The PR person tweeting at Kenneth Cole was either an adolescent twit or an incredibly stupid adult. Imagine if the internet and that fool were around in September 1939. He would probably have tweeted: “Germans invade Poland. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available in Warsaw.” I’m heartened by the online reaction to Kenneth Cole’s foolishness. It shows that a lot of folks still have a sense of decency.

  3. admin Says:

    The response has been overwhelming – and the @KennethCole twitter account has been virtually mute since. Sadly, it was Kenneth Cole himself who wrote the tweet. Awkward.

  4. Bill Says:

    If Kenneth Cole is a real person and wrote the tweet then it is anecdotal evidence that wealthy individuals are insular and lacking in social responsibility.

  5. NMontgomery Says:

    What a ridiculously insensitive Tweet. Maybe he should hire the Palin’s to do PR for him, they have about as much tact on social networks as he apparently does.

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