Why Kenneth Cole’s tweet is a good thing

Posted & filed under Advertising, Branding, Social Media.

Fashion mogul Kenneth Cole sent out the following tweet on Thursday, a reference to a quote from Pentagon spokesman George Little regarding possible military action in Syria –
Kenneth Cole Syria tweet

You’ll recall that Cole did this once before on Twitter in 2011, during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Using war and strife to sell footwear? He should be ashamed, right? Or should he?

Cole Syria textNow, I know many of my friends and coworkers will disagree with me, but I’m on Cole’s side here. No, I don’t think making light of tragic events or another country’s plight to sell shoes is funny. But if the goal was to get his name in the news and people talking about him, he’s nailed it once again. So, from a marketing standpoint, I get it.

Think about it. How many people who’d never heard of Kenneth Cole now know about him and his clothing? Thousands, millions? How many people are talking about him? I know my inbox has his name all over it today, with coverage from Mashable, The Atlantic Wire, PR Daily, among others. Heck, even Cnet, a site whose mission statement reads that it “shows you the exciting possibilities of how technology can enhance and enrich your life” and “help you decide what to buy and how to get the most out of your tech,” jumped on the Cole-thrashing bandwagon.

Sure, a few will stop buying his product because of this. But you know what? Those same people are also talking about Cole – in their blogs, on social media, etc., creating even more exposure and awareness for his brand. And let’s face it, fashion is a bit like rock n’ roll; it’s an industry where being cool or controversial can sell product. This tweet alone will get some to shop at his store. It will create first-time customers and brand champions.

And let’s not forget the online marketing angle. All the articles, blog posts, etc. that include links back to Cole’s Twitter page or website? All great for SEO. As Charlie Sheen might say, “Winning!”

So was the tweet insensitive, socially irresponsible, un-PC? Yes. But so far it’s been retweeted more than 500 times and like it or not, no clothing brand is being mentioned more across online media today than Kenneth Cole.

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