I’ll be upfront and honest with you and say Kenneth Cole wasn’t a brand that I had much awareness of. Back in the day I had a nice black leather Sun Microsystems branded PDA pouch that was made by Kenneth Cole but that disappeared along with market valuations of my dot.bomb and telecoms clients. I guess that’s the same way for many Europeans who don’t scour department stores for their wardrobes, however in many Asian markets and the US Kenneth Cole is a powerful mid-market brand.
Cole himself apparently tweeted:
Which got a very immediate reaction on Twitter:
And to his credit Cole didn’t try and pretend that it was an errant member of staff or an intern and apologised via Facebook:
The offending tweet was later deleted. What I found interesting about the whole episode was the very different reaction that the episode had in the US versus the rest of the world. Take this piece on Brandchannel which reflects on Cole’s tweets within the context of the fashion designer’s record for controversial comments and his good works. At first, I thought it was a case of cultural myopia (and there is a substantial element of that in this whole event).
But I was also struck by how Kenneth Coles’ historic good works in New York protected his brand locally against the most horrific gaff.