@KennethCole Opportunistic Social Media Gaffe Creates Opportunity for Social Media Smackdown

Posted by: in Public Relations Practice on February 4, 2011

In a move that wreaks of WTH were you thinking?! Fashion tycoon Kenneth Cole has succeeded in leveraging the great promotional opportunity that is… The devastating riots in Cairo! Kenneth Cole, who personally tweets from the @KennethCole Twitter handle with the moniker “- KC” at the end of his updates, has been lambasted online and in the press for the last 24 hours due to his insensitive proclamation that:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo -KC.”

Kenneth Cole Twitter Debacle - @KennethCole vs @KennethColePR

Kenneth Cole has since deleted the Tweet and apologized via Facebook and Twitter both, however, the damage has already been done. For every opportunistic marketer in the world (ahem… Kenneth Cole), there are a hundred opportunistic users in social media who are just waiting to pile on. In the same spirit as the @BPGlobalPR account, there is now an @KennethColePR Twitter handle that is over 6,000 Followers strong. This account is a parody account that posts harsh and insensitive updates to paint Kenneth Cole as an opportunistic money grubber. I think it’s safe to say this account will have more Followers than Kenneth Cole’s real Twitter account before the weekend is over. Sad to see a brand like Kenneth Cole get hijacked in Twitter, especially given all the work they’ve put into having the brand and Kenneth Cole himself active on Twitter.

It will be interesting to see how Kenneth Cole and the real Kenneth Cole PR team react to this social media crisis or if they try to wait it out. The onslaught of social media users condemning Kenneth Cole for their Twitter gaffe is growing: Kenneth Cole Tweets

Meanwhile, few media outlets have missed the opportunity to post their opinions on Kenneth Cole:
WSJ: Kenneth Cole Apologizes For Tweet About Egyptian Protests
Fast Company: Kenneth Cole’s Tone-Deaf Tweet! Vodafone’s Coerced Texts! Salad Dressing Drug Charges! Business Misadventures in Egypt Multiply
NY Mag: Kenneth Cole Tries to Plug His Spring Line by Making Light of the Crisis in Egypt
BNET: Millions in Uproar Over @KennethCole on #Twitter; Rumor Is, He’s a D*ck
PC World: Kenneth Cole Feels Wrath of the Web After Egypt Twitter Gaffe

Update:
Unfortunately for Kenneth Cole, the @KennethColePR account is actually quite funny at times, which ensures that it will not disappear easily. Every funny Tweet is reason for users and media to revisit the Kenneth Cole Twitter debacle. In fact, HuffPost recently posted their list of the top, funniest Tweets from @KennethColePR – the Kenneth Cole parody Twitter account.

HuffPost: The Funniest @KennethColePR Tweets Yet (PICTURES)

By: Paul Dyer

Leader, Media + Engagement

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