The supposed mission of the campaign was to "help Starbucks fight bigotry" — and it even had a #borderfreecoffee hashtag to go along with it.
But people quickly realized something was off about the ad. One Twitter user claimed Reddit users had created the hoax to target and lure undocumented immigrants.
As it turns out, the hate-driven scam was conjured up by anonymous users on 4chan.
BuzzFeed News found evidence of the thread on the site's "Politically Incorrect" (/pol/) message board.
"How about we meme “Undocumented Immigrant Day” at Starbucks into existence? Announce free coffee for all illegals on a certain date. August 11? 11 looks like II (for Illegal Immigrant). I’m open to suggestions there. Name a liberal place for all illegals to go at once and demand free stuff. Thoughts?" the initial post read.
People immediately began suggesting that they call Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on them once they were at the coffee chain.
Even an alleged Starbucks worker wrote, "I work at a Starbucks across the street from a Mexican restaurant that uses its parking lot as a place for day laborers to be picked up. Please make this happen."
Once they settled on the logistics of their proposed trap, they started a new thread — "Operation #borderfreecoffee day" — where people put their Photoshop skills to the test to create the bogus flyers.
The introductory post stated, "This thread is for discussing and planning the #borderfreecoffee day at Starbucks. The plan is to meme into existence a day where Starbucks is supposed to give free coffee to "undocumented Americans" and then alert ICE for the Round up. Even if this doesn't work it will still be a good publicity scare."
The users came up with a couple of options like this one...
... and this one.
Everyone gave their opinions on which one "captured the Starbucks aesthetic" and gave editor notes on copy and typos they should watch out for — but they still spelled Frappuccino wrong.