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Have your heard yet about the Kenneth Cole tweet to promote his spring collection? Here it is:

Not surprisingly, many people have been angered by this extremely insensitive reference to the political turmoil in Egypt for a fashion line promotion. There has been a follow-up explanatory tweet claiming that “we weren’t intending to make light of a serious situation,” but I don’t sense much apology or even contrition in this second tweet.

This is a classic example of the SEO obsession gone haywire. Anyone in the business of trying to get high web ranking or increased traffic understands the importance of creating content around popular search words. There is nothing terrible about the idea, if the search term is in some ways related to the core message of your personal or corporate brand. There are been great tweets built around current hot topics.

But there are times when people cross a certain line. Using natural disasters, political tragedies and religious controversies all smack of opportunism and does not have the mark of a clean campaign. It seems like the social media version of ambulance chasing, if you know what I mean.

Marketing is always about attracting an audience and social media marketing is built on the premise of the here and the now. But watch out for those temptations which may end up costing you your reputation as much as they gain you some numbers.

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