When it comes to photoshopping convincing fake advertisements, nobody does it better than 4chan.
Just ask the unsuspecting iPhone users who actually fell for these iOS software update "announcements."
What makes the pranks so effective is how well they're sold and that they were timed with the update announcements of the latest iPhone software. Hitting that trending news wave is a surefire way to give the pranks more credibility.
Which was probably the thought process behind these fake Starbucks coupons that were created in response to the coffee franchise's scandal involving two black customers. The food retailer currently plans to close all of its locations on May 29th in order to implement racial sensitivity training in response to this shocking video that surfaced online where a store manager called the police on two men who were waiting for their third friend to come to the store to place an order.
But some industrious trolls are crafting fake vouchers for free drinks to "people of color" as a faux olive branch from Starbucks.
The origin of the coupon can be traced to a 4Chan thread, and it's valid until May 29, the day Starbucks announced it will implement its racial sensitivity training. It reads:
"We're sorry. We know we can do better. Starbucks values all people of color , and we are working on employee sensitivity training. The best dialogue starts over a cup of coffee, and we'd like to buy you one."
Now say what you want about the advertisement, but it's apparent that they've hit all of the appropriate PR buzzwords, and save for the fact that it's a completely ludicrous response to a serious issue, it's a decent attempt at a convincing coupon advertisement. A quick look at the thread shows that there's some thought and consideration behind it, including constructive criticism.
The thread also shows some disturbing language geared towards people of color and it's pretty evident that these coupons were meant to try and foment some further discord between unsuspecting customers and Starbucks employees should anyone actually try and use these in a store.
Another ad cropped up on the internet shortly after, but its origin was more difficult to pin down. This one looks like a lot more work went into it - the QR code and little touches on the coupon, plus the general aesthetic tie the whole thing together nicely.
Of course when asked about the coupons, Starbucks went on the record that they were fake and the retailer had nothing to do with them.
"These are completely false and in no way associated with Starbucks."
Which would be evident to whoever scans the coupon at a Starbucks location. There's going to be a lot of awkward conversations with baristas out there if anyone actually brings these to a location.
The trolls, however, showing that they're pretty cognizant of the media cycle most likely anticipated that word of the coupons questionable veracity would reach the internet soon, so a fake response from "Starbucks" was then sent out saying that although the coupons weren't authentic, the retailer was still going to honor them.
As for where the idea to receive "reparations beverages" originated, it might have something to do with Twitter user Bryan Sharpe (@VibeHi) pranked a Starbucks barista into giving him free coffee.
He approached the counter in a livestream and asked for a "Starbucks reparations voucher." The barista says, "Is that a thing? Well, I'll give it to you" and then handed him a free cup of coffee.
Sharpe even appeared on Laura Ingraham's show to discuss the prank, and Ann Coulter even tweeted that POC were receiving free Starbucks coffee when referencing Donald Trump's nomination of a marine to become America's first black, female general in the military.
Responses to the prank varied, some people thought it was "genius."
While others weren't impressed at 4chan's penchant for helping stir up racial strife.
I can't believe anyone would think a coupon promoting preferential treatment based on one's skin color is an actual thing, but then again, people did microwave their iPhones to charge them in shorter amounts of time, so there's that.
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