We have previously blogged about brands getting it really wrong on Twitter and with social media. Today, another story is breaking about @Kenneth Cole, the fashion label named after its founder.

The backlash has already started and a fake Kenneth Cole Twitter account (@kennethcolePR) has already been created with acerbic, satirical tweets in equally bad taste.

E-consultancy offer a sage piece of advice on this:

‘Always pause for a moment in private before you reply in public’

Responses are currently running at around 1,500 negative retweets an hour – none of which will help any brand, particularly in the current climate. And with 131,000 Facebook ‘friends’ and an ‘open wall’ that permits disgruntled users the chance to post, this is likely to be one tweet that could seriously impact sales.

The Offending Kenneth Cole Tweet
The Offending Kenneth Cole Tweet

Kenneth Cole scrambled to respond on his Facebook account:

“I apologise 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 humour regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.”

Although some consumers have posted an acceptance of the apology on his Facebook wall, most comments continue to be negative.

Social Media – how to do it

Emotions are running high both within and without Egypt, with many problems being experienced using the internet and mobile phones in Egypt, restricting the stories of what is happening on the streets from being heard by the international community.

Access to the Net has become a precious resource for Egyptians, and this weekend saw Google engineers hacking together a solution (launched on Monday) using the very newly acquired SayNow to launch speaktotweet – a service which allows Egyptians to phone a number so their message can be tweeted with the hashtag #egypt and the original voice message listened to. e.g Voice of Egypt

The cynics amongst us could be thinking that this is an excellent way to garner publicity for a new service on the back of a crisis attracting mass global news coverage. However, it should be remembered that Google employees are allowed to devote some of their time on their own projects, and considering that the Google Head of Marketing for Middle East and North Africa is currently missing in Egypt, one should whole heartedly applaud Google for this initiative.

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About the author:

John Newton has 14 years of strategic marketing experience across Online Display, Search Marketing and TV and Outdoor Advertising, in companies which include Yahoo!, ITV and TNS Global. John has written on blog monetisation for Web Designer magazine and was the editor of ClickThrough’s two books. John is a CIM Chartered Marketer.