Kenneth Cole is a very successful New York designer, known for expensive, somewhat preppy fashions, and loafers.
This month, however, he is just ‘the guy that posted the insensitive Egypt tweet’:
@KennethCole: Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC
A stupid spur of the moment tweet? Or an opportunistic marketing maneuver which went very wrong?
Cole is unusual for a designer in that he writes his own ad campaigns, and they are often controversial. Immediately after 9/11, Cole’s billboards were plastered with ‘God dress America’.
The difference is that by tweeting his latest ‘witticism’ Cole jumped straight into a portal where reaction is instantaneous, worldwide, and delivered with a whole load of vitriol.
And he signed it.
-KC is Cole’s Twitter signature; to leave his followers in no doubt that all his tweets do indeed come from the man himself.
The big question of course is will it stop anybody buying said Cole’s products?
There is a fair amount of declarations to boycott all Cole’s products emerging across the Internet.
Later the same day, Cole posted an apology on Facebook, which read:
I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I’ve dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.
506 replies to the apology (at the time of writing) range from expletives to ‘it was funny!’ with one poster posing an interesting question, would people have been quite so outraged if it was a comedian who had posted the tweet?
The designer had further problems after some enterprising ‘pranksters’ printed the offending tweet onto Clingfilm and affixed it to the window of Cole’s SOMA based store.
On the 4th of February, Cole tweeted:
@KennethCole: Just to clarify, we did not put the inappropriate tweet on our store. It was a prank. –KC
Tweeters ‘KennethColePR’ and ‘KennethColeTweets’ were just two users who had a field day fashioning their own offensive faux advertising campaigns for Cole’s products.
@KennethColeTweets: Of course there are no gays in Iran, they’re all shopping at my new outlet in Dubai, Holla! #KennethColeTweets
@KennethColeTweets: Jeffrey Dahmer would have eaten up our spring collection #KennethColeTweets
The online Cole bashing continues, but in the meantime, have you seen his new range?