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The Best Of The Worst Of Kenneth Cole's Pun Ads

The fashion CEO is taking heat this week for his unfunny punny Syria tweet. But his past crimes against the English language have been much more egregious.

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In the upcoming issue of Details, on newsstands September 19th, Cole is unapologetic and takes full responsibility for his tweets. He talks specifically about his infamous "Arab Spring" tweet (posted further down in this article). Via Adweek

" I write most of (the tweets) myself, often as people around me cringe. Billions of people read my inappropriate, self-promoting tweet (, I got a lot of harsh responses, and we hired a crisis-management firm. If you look at lists of the biggest Twitter gaffes ever, we're always one through five. But our stock went up that day, our e-commerce business was better, the business at every one of our stores improved, and I picked up 3,000 new followers on Twitter. So on what criteria is this a gaffe? [Laughs] Within hours, I tweeted an explanation, which had to be vetted by lawyers. I'm not even sure I used the words I'm sorry—because I wasn't sorry."

So, Cole thinks being purposely insensitive is good business and marketing strategy.

Consumers will have the last word on that.

Here are some of his ads and billboards, most of them from the last seven years.

He says he writes them himself.

Untrue, according to this comment (LINK) made by an alleged former employee on a 2006 Gawker article I wrote.

Well he signs off on them anyway.



Lastly, in the Fall of 2001, shortly after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Cole put this horrible headline on a billboard in New York City. A Cole rep responded to criticism:

"Kenneth Cole is known for social activism, using words in ads to speak his mind. Kenneth Cole absolutely felt it was time for humor. In some, the ads invoked the reaction of people smiling. We needed that."


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