Many cafés in Indonesia have been doing their part in encouraging the public, especially young people, to get vaccinated during the pandemic by offering free coffee to those who have gotten their jabs. Due to what looks like an ill-advised marketing ploy, one coffee shop went against the grain and offered the complete opposite to customers.
In a recent Instagram post, a coffee shop in Solo, Central Java offered free cups of coffee to people who are not vaccinated. The café said it appreciates what other coffee shops are doing, but wants to give back to the community in their own way.
“[We] want to join [the trend] but [by giving free coffee] to those of you who have yet to be vaccinated,” the coffee shop wrote in the caption of the post.
“[This is] an effort to implement the values in Pancasila, specifically the fifth article. How is it only those who are inoculated who get free coffee, it’s not cool,” they continued, referring to an article in Indonesia’s state ideology that reads “social justice for all the people of Indonesia.”
According to the shop, their free coffee promo would result in “happy hearts, strong immunity, and a healthy society,” adding that anyone can redeem their free cuppa by simply visiting the shop while observing health protocols.
The post quickly circulated on social media, with most users calling the shop “ignorant,” pointing to the devastating rise of COVID-19 cases and deaths across Indonesia right now. Some also deemed the move counterproductive to ongoing nationwide efforts to speed up the vaccination rate, especially as it can be loosely interpreted as encouraging people not to actually go get their COVID jabs.
“Wow, so cool, the campaign is so different from other [coffee shops]. I really like this, truly innovative right? The most contrarian coffee shop,” reads one sarcastic comment.
With the coffee shop under online spotlight, many also went on to call out their cringeworthy approach to marketing, for which they use inappropriate sexual jokes that are more vulgar than funny, including a now-deleted meme of the Bear Brand milk logo replaced by a man suckling on the breast of a woman.
The coffee shop posted a clarification for the controversial promo yesterday, where they added new terms and conditions for the promo that requires customers to show a proof of vaccination schedule when making their payment, while also extending the free coffee offer for those who have been vaccinated.
It’s a bleak time for everyone in Indonesia, and while there have been good intentions in trying to get people vaccinated through caffeine as an incentive, it’s really not the right time to be edgy online.