Kenneth Cole Tweet Causes Controversy, On Purpose

Kenneth Cole created on outrage on Twitter today when he sent out a tweet about Syria, war, and shoes.

Cole writes: “Boots on the ground” or not, let’s not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear”

Now, that might shock some people. Some Twitter users (and potential shoe buyers) were absolutely appalled by Cole’s tasteless tweet.

But should we really be shocked? This is, after all, Kenneth Cole that we’re talking about.

The Social News Daily reports that Cole has made it a habit to turn hot topics into promotional messages for his shoes. Back in 2011, he created a controversy when he turned the Arab Spring into a sales pitch.

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

Cole also used his Twitter account to turn the issue of gun control into an advertisement for shoes.

Kenneth wrote earlier this year: “Regardless of the right to bear arms, we in no way condone the right to bare feet.”

Kenneth Cole apologized after the aforementioned instances, saying that he didn’t mean to offend anyone. Most recently, Cole said that his Syria tweet was meant to spark a meaningful conversation about the conflict in Syria.

Cole writes: “For 30 years I have used my platform in provocative ways to encourage a healthy dialogue about important issues, including HIV/AIDS, war, and homelessness. I’m well aware of the risks that come with this approach, and if this encourages further awareness and discussion about critical issues then all-the-better.”

But here’s the thing: These tweets don’t spark a “healthy dialogue” and Cole knows that. He has to, right? Cole knows that his tweet will spark controversy. He knows that he’ll lose some customers. But he also knows that his name is going to get thrown around in the media for the next few days. And every time someone says “I’ll never buy Kenneth Cole again” another dozen think “maybe it’s time I buy some loafers.”

Cole has mastered the art of “Twitter controversy PR” and today’s tweet is no different. So next time Kenneth Cole tweets something offensive don’t get mad. But don’t go shopping either.