Kenneth Cole just made it into the PR hall of shame with this tweet:
@KennethCole: Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://www.bit.ly/KCairo -KC
Econsultancy has more on Cole’s “hastag hijack”:
If you cast your mind back you may remember that Habitat pulled a similar move in June 2009 when it used hashtags related to the protests in Iran as part of its promotional tweets. It then blamed and fired the intern, and duly killed its Twitter account.
No such luck for Kenneth Cole, as the designer himself appears to be at fault. The Twitter bio for the account states that:
“Thoughts that end in -KC are from me personally; others are behind the seams insights from my inspiring associates.”
To his credit, Kenneth Cole issued a clarification within an hour or so, though it stops a little short of being an apology as such.
“Re Egypt tweet: we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation. We understand the sensitivity of this historic moment –KC”
See the Twitter uproar here to see how people are reacting.
It’s godawful publicity, but Kenneth Cole’s Twitter #fail still increases brand awareness. The company, if they’re smarter than their tweet indicates, may even be able to harness this negative PR. Tweeps now have Kenneth Cole on the brain, for better or worse.