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Worst marketing tweet ever?

I doubt designer Kenneth Cole personally writes the strangely dumb tweets (and the long-running ad campaign) attributed to his name. He has a staff. Nevertheless, he had to take responsibility yesterday for what may be an all-time low for his brand.

This message went out on the @KennethCole feed yesterday morning:

Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo - KC

Oh no! The Kenneth Cole brand often uses wry, self-aware ad copy to make light of commercialism, but here the timing could not have been worse. The Egypt unrest—numbers of dead unknown, outcome uncertain, the world captivated with anxiety—is the wrong event to turn into lame, self-serving joke. Internet backlash was swift. Kenneth Cole (the brand, if not the person) took the Tweet offline and apologized on Facebook.

That’s pretty much the end of the story. It’s a short-term P.R. mess, but will this hurt Kenneth Cole’s sales? Doubtful. It could even help—that first tweet drove at least 15,000 clicks to the Kenneth Cole site, and resulted in interest from people who would not ordinarily be talking about the brand (like Breaking Copy).

Here’s a better question. Should the Kenneth Cole brand even have a Twitter feed? Does a company that buys huge outdoor advertisements and pages upon pages in fashion magazines benefit from a feed with barely 10,000 followers? Especially one so poorly executed? Here’s a case where participating in Twitter did a brand more harm than good.

Bonus: Don’t miss the anonymously written @KennethColePR feed, which sprang up yesterday to post jokes about Kenneth Cole’s insensitivity.

— By Daryl Lang. Filed under Social Media