Richmond cafe urges customers to choose coffee over heroin

A Melbourne coffee shop, situated on Melbourne’s notorious Victoria Street, has caused a stir on social media this week by posting this picture on thier Facebook page asking customers to choose coffee over heroin. The picture was met with a social media backlash, with people labeling the message, ‘insensitive’ and ‘offensive’.

The image was the brainchild of two of the coffee shops’ owners and was originally printed on stickers and then shared on social media, but was soon removed in response to the social media frenzy. One of the owners responsible for the ad campaign, Charl Laubscher told Marketing mag he was completely surprised at the reaction the poster has garnered.

“We’ve done everything we can to address the feedback we’ve received. We took the post down hours later, posted up a public apology for causing any offence, and provided an email address so that anyone who had questions or comments on the issue could address us directly,” he says.

“We then went on to contact some of the more vocal individuals who seemed to have taken particular issue with what we’d done, as we felt an honest conversation is always going to be the best way to resolve disputes. We’ve also been in touch with the local business association (with whom we’ve been getting along with really well) to make sure any complaints or concern have been dealt with, and asked them to contact us directly if any issues arise in the future.”

One particularly disgruntled social media user even created a now disabled Twitter account, which featured doctored images of the cafe’s original artwork, which Laubscher says he finds the most surprising about the whole ordeal. And at time of publication it appears the cafe has since deleted its own Facebook page plus its website.

“I suppose what surprises us most is when people won’t accept any sort of apology, or contact us directly about the issue,” he says.

“I wonder, if they’re so offended by the issue, and by people seeing it, why they would continue to post it up everywhere?”

Laubscher says the cafe appears to be unaffected by the ordeal so far, and has actually had some positives come out of this with the cafe’s loyal customers offering “some pretty amazing support”, but Laubscher knows they’re not quite off the hook yet.

“It’s hard to say what will happen in the long run,” he says.