Heinz's strategy of giving its U.S. Facebook fans exclusive first access to purchasing its new Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Balsamic Vinegar went awry this week, when technical problems with its e-commerce app prevented users from buying the product during the first day (Nov. 14) of its availability.
But Heinz turned lemons into lemonade...or should we say tomatoes into ketchup?
The brand's social media team not only responded to hundreds of comments from frustrated Facebook fans; Heinz also issued an apology and is shipping free bottles of the new product to the more than 16,000 fans whose orders were thwarted during the 36 hours it took to fix the tech glitch, reports ClickZ.
Judging from the numerous wall postings on the Heinz Facebook page thanking the brand and raving about how quickly they've received their ketchup, Heinz's fast response to the glitch turned the scenario into a bonding experience.
Since annoucing about three weeks ago that the new variety would be initially available only to Facebook fans (it will launch in stores in late December), Heinz has seen its number of likes jump by about 40,000, to a current 867,000.
The initally Facebook-exclusive product launch is a first for the brand in the U.S., although Heinz used a similar tack last year for introducing a barbeque sauce in the U.K. Heinz has said that Facebook will be a core focus for the overall launch campaign for the balsamic vinegar product.