A coffee chain has had to discard scores of drink sleeves that were printed with a slogan that is wildly inappropriate for our times, and it has the internet rolling.
What was appropriate last year is not reading the same during the pandemic.
Caribou Coffee is a coffee chain with just over 600 locations mostly in Upper Midwest states like Minnesota, the Dakotas and Wisconsin where its nature-loving theme resonates.
As such, its drink sleeves are printed with folksy taglines about adventure and exploration like:
"The scenic route is the only route."
You know, outdoorsy stuff. Very cute.
But of course in these times of being trapped in the house due to a viral pathogen, an outdoor exploration theme can very easily lapse into something ill-advised... or maybe even low-key deadly? And that's exactly what happened at good ol' Caribou coffee.
An employee shared the hindsight misstep on TikTok.
Tough break for Caribou Coffee’s marketing team https://t.co/ZIMZ8ygzRH— Dave Jorgenson (@Dave Jorgenson) 1589895546.0
Caribou employee Michael Reinhardt posted a video to TikTok of himself tending to his duties for the day like stocking up the drink sleeves.
Except this particular day, it came with a whole extra step.
"I have to go in and take out every fourth one because they printed them with the words, 'Fight the urge to remain indoors.'"
Reinhardt's fellow Caribou employees filled his comments with similar stories about the unfortunate drink sleeves.
As one put it:
"I work at Caribou too and as soon as I saw the box of sleeves I knew EXACTLY what was happening. I had to do the same thing."
Reinhardt's video, which he wittily captioned, "And THAT'S on unfortunate marketing," ends with him defeatedly tossing one of the ill-advised drink sleeves into a crate full of them, a hilarious coda that seems a perfect metaphor for the times in which we live.
And boy did it resonate with folks on the internet.
I think Caribou Coffee needs to update their coffee sleeves 😅 https://t.co/tkiU8Ht8D1— 🦠 (@🦠) 1589496678.0
Not sure why a coffee cup sleeve that says REMAIN INDOORS is so funny but I just really love this https://t.co/r4r4Z5jHTD— Olivia Niland (@Olivia Niland) 1590016977.0
Awwww buddy https://t.co/aSjms7e2g7— clemson liu (@clemson liu) 1589995612.0
@davejorgenson @juliareinstein I'm wheezing— Lyz Lenz (@Lyz Lenz) 1589895870.0
@davejorgenson Yes, but kudos to this guy. They lost every fourth sleeve.... but organically gained humor and goodw… https://t.co/oDVfwxIsZd— Amy Knightley (@Amy Knightley) 1589898013.0
@davejorgenson Thoughts and prayers for the copywriter who went through 12 rounds with the client to get that line approved.— Linda Lincoln (@Linda Lincoln) 1589896244.0
People suggested altered versions of the ill-fated sleeve.
@BuzzFeedNews Had to see for myself lol. It’s ok I made the appropriate corrections 👌🏽 @BuzzFeedNews https://t.co/ka7DUkJsJN— Dale Moss (@Dale Moss) 1590072497.0
@OliviaNiland @juliareinstein EMBRACE THE URGE TO REMAIN INDOORS— stan (@stan) 1590068981.0
And it seems some stores are taking a simpler approach to rectifying the situation.
My local Caribou Coffee has been handing out cup sleeves with the top line blacked out. It normally reads “fight t… https://t.co/BkxoIareQF— Dan Lew (@Dan Lew) 1586529754.0
It also turns out Caribou isn't the only company retooling marketing during the pandemic.
@BuzzFeedNews Well my Dove wrapper is giving bad advice too https://t.co/CYFRof8jzq— LizZy🌺 (@LizZy🌺) 1590031905.0
alicia silverstone oops GIF Giphy
Well, at least these slogans give us something to look forward to, right?
You can get reusable neoprene coffee sleeves with a pocket to add your name, available here.