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Revisiting the MaraNatha Debacle

Posted Jun 02 2010 10:04am

I’m sure you guys remember the MaraNatha debacle that went down last month . To recap: I won a MaraNatha contest and they sent me a coupon for a “free” product with a maximum value of $4.99…and I was pissed to discover that their products all cost more than $4.99…so I wasn’t actually getting a free product.

After I posted about it and tagged them in the post on Facebook, MaraNatha removed my post from their Wall (and my post did use the expression “shit list”) and then left me this comment.

Now, OK, I do think it’s good that they responded — they get a major bonus point for that. But I wasn’t the only person who detected a little snark in that response. And also, I had some beef with the response. So I sent this e-mail…

If you can’t read it, my main thing was…

I would like to point out that while the contest may have said “$5 in coupons” the actual coupon says, “Free any one size jar of MaraNatha Nut Butter.” To me, that says any one size jar and, like I said in my post, even on your Web site, it’s very difficult to find a product that that costs that little.

Right?!

So I sent it on May 18th and got an auto-response that she would be out of the office the 18th and 19th. OK — fine. So I re-sent it on the 21st just to be sure it was read. No response. I re-sent it on the 26th and finally got a response and a confirmation that the coupon was being sent.

SO the coupons arrived yesterday…I got one coupon for $8.99 (not enough for the raw almond butter from Whole Foods, but whatever) and a second one for two dollars off any jar.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with my MaraNatha macadamia nut butter so I’ll happily use the coupons to stock up on more of that (provided it costs only $8.99).

The moral of the story: yes, businesses do need to use social media, but they also need to use it well. They love bloggers for the free marketing, but they also need to be aware that there may be shit talking via blogs and Twitter. How they respond to that says a lot about the company, and it’s important that they respond and do it well.

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