Coles caught in social media cock-up

Coles has become the latest brand to fall into hot water over its actions on social media, after the company hid a letter on its Facebook page which slammed the supermarket price wars.

The letter was posted on Friday evening (27 July) by a farmer called Jane Burney and argued the supermarket price wars are “killing the lifeblood of our dairy industry”. It was later “hidden” by Coles.

The company's actions caused a sizeable online reaction, with numerous people re-posting the letter in the Coles comments streams and on a range of other sites.

A Coles spokesperson said in a statement to AdNews: “We aim to be upfront and transparent on our Facebook page, and we don’t try to hide or shy away from critical postings. Jenny Burney’s post was hidden inadvertently as a result of a regular team member having gone on leave, and has since been restored on the site.

“Social media activism has become an effective channel for groups to gather a collective voice with incredible pace. The recent activity on our Facebook page is an example of this. We take such feedback very seriously and it emphasises how important it is for us to clearly communicate the extent to which Coles supports Australian farming.”

In response to Coles actions, one user has posted the letter in the comment streams for all Coles Facebook posts in recent days.

The letter said, in part: “Your $1 per litre of milk deal is killing the lifeblood of our dairy industry. The ramifications of it are finally rearing their ugly head ...

“It is time for us to go back to the old fashioned way; in which we bought real milk that tastes like milk; no permeate and where our fruit and vegetables were grown in our beautiful country. Stocking garlic from China, Argentina. What is going on? Obviously it is cheaper to buy it from overseas then from our country; grown in God knows what. And for our farmers and the towns they support and encourage capital growth; it is heartbreaking.

“Your latest ad campaign sprouting that you support Aussie growers in insulting. You are misleading the public in how you support Aussie growers. Not only have you ruined the fresh milk market but you have also lowered the price on your cheese and butter. The only winner here is you. Eventually all the Aussie growers you so called support will be out of business.”

Coles is the latest in a string of major brands to hit a hurdle in the social media space. Just last week, Seven News was lambasted after it removed Facebook comments from a mother chastising the show for its coverage of her daughter's death.

The letter had received 73,542 likes and 4,554 comments at the time of writing.

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