"Boots on the ground" or not, let's not forget about sandals, pumps and loafers. #Footwear
— Kenneth Cole (@KennethCole) September 5, 2013
If you're wondering what all the fuss is about then this piece in The Atlantic should put the affair into perspective.
As a Brit, I find this kind of Tweet only vaguely tasteless and usually give the benefit of the doubt and/or view it as cleverly hijacking a popular story for marketing purposes. It is a tried and tested formula that is barely harmful.
But then I saw Cole justify his actions in an Instagram video where he said: "I've always used my platform to provoke 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."
Again, I have no trouble with this in yer face approach. Where I struggle is wondering how he managed to keep a straight face while filming something that has that creepy tinge of creative cynicism. Do you get that vibe? So fashion footwear in the context of war is a critical issue? Hmm...I've heard of selling your mother to turn a coin but this is possibly a stretch too far. But then Cole's Tweet bio says:
Designer, Aspiring Humanitarian, Frustrated Activist, Social Networker In training. My tweets are not representative of the corporate @kennethcoleprd feed.
But then I also struggle with the hypocrisy of those politically correct who at once attempt to take the high road yet seem to have no shame in screaming like banshees in the vain hope someone will be impressed. Regardless of your position, there is no denying the potential value of climbing on a bandwagon and carving out a defined position that others will not replicate.
SAP on the bandwagon
SAP has used the same world events to develop a post about sentiment analysis. It's the same thing as Kenneth Cole - a pitch - it's just dressed up differently and therefore has a different impact. It says:
Tensions are high and people are expressing this online. Looking at the sentiment from the past month, you will see where people stand on Syria and the potential for US military involvement. There has been a huge surge in sentiment...The situation in Syria is very complicated and people naturally have different opinions on what actions, if any, should be taken. This analysis is simply a reflection of the social sentiment and highlights where people's thoughts are on the topic. With Syria on most people's minds, it is worth doing some analysis on the topic.
The post includes some useful graphics as illustrative of what can be discovered and has a short but decidedly considered comment stream.
As a believer in joining dots, I have to wonder whether Cole tapped into the SAP post as a precursor to the alleged faux pas? As a long time SAP customer but with a cheeky and aggressive advertising approach, wouldn't you?
Disclosure: SAP is a premier partner
Images from Kenneth Cole website.