Kenneth Cole tweeted today that Egypt is in an uproar about his company’s new spring line of clothing. The post has since been taken down in response to a huge backlash of negative responses, and he has apologized for his insensitive remarks.
I don’t envy the PR backlash the company will have to manage in response to the uproar, and from a marketing perspective, the Egypt-fashion line associated certainly wasn’t the best of moves, but let’s keep it in perspective – it was a poorly thought out tweet, not an arms agreement to fund terrorism.
It’s not apple-to-apples, but how many millions of people have sworn off Facebook with each update to the newsfeed or data privacy settings, claiming it was invasive? And how many have actually stopped signing on?
I don’t mean to downplay the profound effect social media has on every brand (regardless of whether the brand itself is engaged or not), or prognosticate the consequence today’s tweet will have on the Kenneth Cole’s business, but today’s tweet will have zero impact on my propensity to purchase Kenneth Cole products. Impact – on a brand or cause – is not defined by a group of passive, one-off comments that have no tangible end. Think Kenneth Cole is a jerk? Fine. Will it keep you from buying a pair of his shoes if given the right offer at the right time? Probably not.
And call me insensitive, but I’m deriving way more humor from the hyperbolic @KennethColePR tweets than I did anger from the original tweet that spawned them.