If There's a War, Kenneth Cole Will Co-Opt It
Kenneth Cole makes his living by selling shoes. In order to promote his shoes, sometimes Kenneth Cole will try and sell his wares by tweeting what he believes to be a funny fashion pun about tragic events like Bashar al Assad's use of chemical weapons or the Newtown shooting.
Kenneth Cole makes his living by selling shoes. In order to promote his shoes, sometimes Kenneth Cole will try and sell his wares by tweeting what he believes to be a funny fashion pun about tragic events like Bashar al Assad's use of chemical weapons or the Newtown shooting. Judging from the reaction to those puns, it's best he stick with his day job.
On Thursday, the spirit moved Cole to tweet this joke out about American involvement in Syria:
"Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) September 5, 2013
While Cole thought that was appropriate to tweet out, a lot of people didn't find it appropriate to push products or make jokes about American intervention in Syria — or the widespread concern that it could escalate to an Iraq-like war with American troops on the ground. Cole's tweet also seems to confirm that he has not really learned the social media lessons from his previous faux pas. And there are many of them.
Back in 2011, Cole tried to make a joke about the very violent Egyptian revolution, and tweeted that the reason there was an uprising there was because of his spring collection:
After the tweet went out, plenty of people got angry. Some boycotts were threatened. And the push back was so big that Cole said sorry and that the company learned its lesson:
But there's plenty of evidence that he didn't understand the lesson here. Fool us once Mr. Cole, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on your social media skills. Cole tweeted this "right to bare feet" joke out in April in reference to the debate about gun control that stemmed from the Newtown shootings.
And Cole had this to say about New York's unconstitutional stop and frisk tactics when it was trending earlier this month:
#StopandFrisk is complicated. Is it right or wrong?...Search us... #awearness— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) August 20, 2013
And in the past his billboards and shirts both had puns referring to current events like the gulf oil spill, and the plane crashing in the Hudson River. Maybe, by now, we should just finally come to accept that when there's a significant and tragic international event, Cole will find a way to interject something about his company into the conversation. And maybe, we should come to accept that unfollowing him and his company might be course of action.