The well-known fashion company, Kate Spade, is under fire following the release of a limited edition bag. The bag is an abbreviation of Kate Spade New York highlighting their signature “spade” logo but Tweeters noticed it appears to read “I Love Kony” instead. This, of course, spurred many angry Tweeters who were offended due to the reference to controversial Joseph Kony and 2012’s The Invisible Children campaign. The company announced Oct 22 that it plans to pull all existing bags from stores and discontinue the bag’s production.
Group SJR, the Hill + Knowlton Strategies company that represents the brand, issued a quick and concise statement:
“This bag was designed as a celebration of kate spade new york, using the abbreviation of our name, kate (spade) new york. We regret the interpretation of this tote’s design and apologize for any misunderstanding. We take customer feedback seriously and are actively working to withdraw these items from our stores and wholesale partners.”
While most Tweeters realized the harmless mistake, many couldn’t get over how obvious the design looked.
The apology seemed the only way to deal with the unfortunate incident. Making the situation worse is that Joseph Kony is still alive and leading the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) despite the 2012 guerrilla campaign.
Do you think Kate Spade handled the situation correctly? How would you have handled it? Was this unintentional controversy a serious enough PR issue to merit the discontinuation of the bag completely? Does Kate Spade need to address how this design was overlooked in the first place?