Social media erupts over Kenneth Cole tweet—but what is the real fallout?

Yesterday’s tweet was the talk of PR and crisis managers everywhere. But was it really a crisis? In the age of the attention-deficit, will anyone remember this in a week?

He tweeted. He offended. He apologized.

It took only a few hours for the fashion designer and retailer Kenneth Cole to enrage Twitter and Facebook followers yesterday with this tweet:

“Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online.”

Though Cole quickly apologized for insensitivity, the damage had already been done … Or had it been?

Is it time to take a closer look at the so-called missteps brands make on Twitter and other social media sites?

Do we as PR and marketing people exaggerate the “brandicide” caused by such blunders, including the writers and editors at After all, our story yesterday afternoon carried the headline, “Did Kenneth Cole commit brand suicide on Twitter?

Is it possible that all of yesterday’s attention, all of the media coverage, all of the buzz created around the Kenneth Cole tweet may have actually benefited the company?

While it’s true that Twitter erupted with predictable furor over the tweet and followers pummeled Cole with criticism, it’s dead on certain that traffic to the retailer’s shopping cart skyrocketed.

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