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Marsh promotion cancellation sparks anger

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Marsh Supermarkets' decision to stop honoring a $10 online coupon just days after introducing the promotion has angered hundreds of followers of the grocer's Facebook page.

The company began offering the coupon Tuesday to its "loyal fans, customers and employees" on its Facebook site and told them "don't be afraid to share. Marsh would love to see more shoppers become fans."

But by Friday, Marsh announced on its Facebook page that it had rescinded the promotion, which was supposed to last until Aug. 8.

"Unfortunately this offer has been widely distributed in an unauthorized manner throughout our marketing area," the company wrote. "Due to the vast numbers of inappropriately transmitted and replicated copies of this offer, we will no longer be able to accept these coupons in our stores."

The company did not divulge how many coupons its stores received.

Marsh offered an apology, which did little to quell the anger flooding the company's Facebook page. As of this morning, 269 comments had been posted.  

"Marsh, you need to understand what a bad customer-service move this was. I will definitely be shopping Kroger and Meijer," wrote Andrea Slayton Reynolds.

Marsh has 3,051 followers of its Facebook social-networking site. Such sites are becoming a powerful marketing tool for companies to reach consumers.
 
Companies embracing alternative advertising outlets need to be cautious in how they present their campaigns, said Brian Coles, an account manager at Indianapolis-based Coles Marketing Communications Inc.

"Social media is so new I don't think anyone knows what to expect," he said. "Facebook and Twitter, it's all word of mouth. Things can get twisted."

Marsh did not return a phone call seeking comment this morning.

 
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