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Twitter users attack firm's 'shameful' marketing ploy

Rob Melnychuk | Digital Vision | Getty Images

There are marketing gaffes and there are marketing tragedies.

A Connecticut-based parking reservations company just attempted to lure customers to a coupon code by sharing what some are calling "shameful, exploitative" marketing.

In an email sent to subscribers of AirportParkingsReservations.com and subsequently obtained by CNBC.com, the firm suggested the death of a 55-year-old man in a parking lot at Chicago O'Hare International Airport last week was due to the aggravation one can experience while traveling.

"There could be many reasons for the cause of this man's death," the email read, setting itself up to promote the convenience that AirportParkingReservations.com offers, "but based on the story one possible reason could be stress. The process of arriving to the airport, getting through security, and boarding the plane could be very stressful."

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The thread didn't end there.

"Don't be late and end up in a crate," the company added, recommending fliers "save stress and possibly anything worse by utlizing technology and reserving all your travel needs in advance."

The $5 coupon that AirportParkingReservations.com offered failed to calm the nerves of angry social media users.

"You people have to be kidding about these emails you're sending out," tweeted @WesWebber. "Are you completely gone?"

Another Twitter user @iamchrisbritton said he was "extremely offended," while @NoeleneClark called the stunt "absolutely disgusting."

The firm didn't immediately respond to an email for comment, but it did take to Twitter to reply to those who expressed dissatisfaction.

"We sincerely apologize about this mistake and can only extend our apologies to you and all those offended," the company repeatedly tweeted.

Later, in a follow-up email to its subscribers, the firm apologized again, saying there was "no excuse" for the email that "caused frustration and grief for our customers."

—CNBC's Peter Schacknow contributed to this report