The fashion design house Kenneth Cole has the Internet “outraged,” according to the off-color website Gawker.com. In this case, I sort of have to agree with Gawker, much as that pains me to do so.
You see the nitwits at Kenneth Cole used the riots and unrest in Egypt to sell its spring collection in a recent Twitter message to its followers. This is extremely inappropriate, to say the least.
You read that right. Kenneth Cole used the civil unrest in Egypt as ad copy!
On its Twitter feed the fashion house posted the following message:
Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http****
(Note, where the asterisks are above the web address originally appeared in the Kenneth Cole Tweet. I won’t replicate it here because I don’t think they deserve the direct publicity.)
For those of you unschooled in the world of Twitter the “#Cairo” bit in the above message is called a “hash tag.” A hash tag is added to a Tweet so that the subject matter, in this case “Cairo,” is easier for Twitter readers to follow. Typing in the hash tag will reveal all the Tweets made by everyone on that subject. This is how trends are categorized on Twitter and Kenneth Cole cynically used “Cairo” to get its advertisement in front of people interested in the news in Egypt.
Typical of its penchant toward absurdity, Gawker claimed that this cynical advertisement makes Kenneth Cole “worse than Mubarak!” This is just plain stupid and makes light of the evils of Mubarak! Only an idiot would think a fashion house is as bad as a murderous tyrant! This is why I find Gawker a generally useless site. But that is an aside…
The fashion designer did back off its use of civil unrest as ad copy, of course. Kenneth Cole has issued an apology.
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.
The good thing about this apology is that it is an actual apology. Not one of those “I’m sorry if anyone was offended” half-apologies. So, Cole made good on the mess, at least.
Still it was a stupid move for sure.