Last week the folks at Kenneth Cole, and perhaps Kenneth Cole himself, set off a firestorm among the twitterati and mainstream media when they decided to try and hijack the “#Cairo” hashtag to promote an upcoming Spring collection. “PR blunder”, “Social media gaffe” and other forms of pseudo outrage ensued, with the media jumping on board to help amplify the noise in the social media echo chamber. For those of us familiar with how influencers, including those on the internet and mainstream media, may – or may not – actually influence the general public, we waited. We waited to see what the outcome would be without overreacting or making worthless predictions. The result? Check it out after the jump.
See that massive spike? Yes, that was everyone talking about Kenneth Cole. Even more interesting is that NO ONE was talking about Kenneth Cole at the same time last year and, when compared to their Holiday campaign, well, it’s not much of a comparison.
So that was Twtiter, but what about blogs?
Go figure. Same result, although they were getting blog coverage prior to the Cairo incident. The sentiment for Kenneth Cole has been dropping among those online (21% negative, 44% neutral and 35% positive) over the past few days (when I ran this on Friday is was 14% negative), however if you look deeper you’ll see that it’s because of the association that people are making with the failure that was the Groupon Superbowl ad, where they used the situation in Tibet to lure people in as if it was a PSA only before asking people to use Groupon:
You might think “Dave, with all of this negative sentiment they have to be taking a beating!” — and while we don’t have their sales figures to see if this is true, it certainly hasn’t affected their true fans (and in fact it looks like it’s created some new ones):
So what’s the lesson here? Clearly the purpose of the stunt was to draw attention to their Spring Collection which, by the way, I remembered without having to look it up. Mission accomplished? Absolutely. Will it impact sales? Only time will tell.
While most brands wouldn’t attempt to pull this off — and they probably shouldn’t — I’d love to hear what creative ways you would have raised awareness of your brand pre-Superbowl without having to spend the cash on an ad?
Update: The link that was originally tweeted out regarding the Spring Collection received 23,439 clicks. Not bad.