Yesterday, Kenneth Cole, a company that makes clothes for cool people, and suits and shoes for those millenials that want to present the "fine, I'll wear a suit" attitude," tweeted this:
For those not familiar with twitter, it is a social media site where people can type 140 character messages.
In the rare occasion where people on twitter believe something important outside of twitter is going on, they create a hashtag. A hashtag allows someone to search all the tweets about the topic. This is done by using the # sign and adding a word.
With the recent events in #Egypt (by the way, that hashtag doesn't do anything, I just wanted to add another example), there are a couple hashtags that people use, including #Cairo.
Kenneth Cole "tweeted" this I believe because they thought it was funny.
Some people thought it wasn't funny, and rather insensitive.
So the people who were offended, began typing, and typing, and typing.
And Kenneth Cole took it down and apologized.
The lesson here is that if you say something that you think is funny, and a bunch of people think it's not funny, they will type about it. Then, others will join in and say things like "yeah, that wasn't funny."
Because of the internet, the people who think something is not funny, will get a bigger voice than...let's say they would in 1982.
And everyone will know that a bunch of people think you weren't funny.
So the marketing lesson here is that if you say something that people don't think is funny, or they think it is insensitive, they will write about it on the internet, and you will be able to read about it. The result is that some people may not buy your product anymore, and others will forget about it in 3 days.
So from a marketing perspective, if you think something is funny, remember, people on twitter may not think it's funny, and when they don't think it's funny, then people like me get to write about the important meaning of saying something that others don't find funny.
If you think something is funny, remember, it may not be viewed that way on twitter.
Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.