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Offering free coffee is a great way to increase Facebook "likes" but only if you can keep up with demand. Timothy's Coffee offered free 24-pack boxes of single-serving coffee, but ran out of supply for the number of people who requested the $17 CAD gift. The company underestimated how viral the promotion would become, and it took too long to sort out how to solve the problem.

In a video, a company spokesperson explained that they "received an overwhelming amount [sic] of entries" and "because of a technical glitch, confirmations were sent beyond the quantities available." 

The company apologized on a Facebook wall post:

Timothy's Coffee
Although 136 people "liked" this post, 291 commented, and many were negative, like this one: "fans being left in the dark from January 4th to Jany 13th, without A SINGLE comment regardless of the raging posts on the wall."

Responding to the disappointed fans, the company then offered a coupon for free coffee for those who didn't receive the promotional gift.

Discussion Starters: 

  • How could Timothy's Coffee have avoided the failed social media promotion?
  • How do you assess the spokesperson's video? What is effective and ineffective about the apology?
  • In the post above, you see "[sic]" within the company's quote. What does this mean, and why is it there?