A picture of a $5 spoonful of Nutella allegedly being sold in Melbourne, Australia, has been covered by the media as if it's the most important news of the year.
The picture originated on Facebook and from there was covered by multiple Australian outlets keen to capitalise on the viral goldmine that is anti-hipster Melbourne, despite the fact that there's literally no way to confirm if the Nutella spoon is a thing you can actually spend $5 on.
The Facebook post said the $5 Nutella spoon would be available at Spoonful of Sugar, which had launched its first pop-up store "at a secret Melbourne location".
Originating on a Facebook page with a small following called Melbourne Cool, the viral confectionery caught the attention of Australians after it was picked up by the influential content sharing network Brown Cardigan.
Brown Cardigan is an Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr network not dissimilar to larger American content aggregators such as FuckJerry and The Fat Jewish. It should be noted that Brown Cardigan does, more often than not, share original content – or at least try to link out to a source if that's not the case – and the Australian-based aggregator has yet to lose the respect of its audience, maintaining its cool, cynical edge.
What's important is that Brown Cardigan has a very big audience in Australia.
Melbourne Cool has only posted a handful of times since the Facebook page was created in 2015.
Here's a look at just a few of the posts, including one about an upcoming "Herb E. Vore" eatery by chef and permaculturalist Alexander Holt (remember the name) and, most bizarrely, the "Alcross Almoz" which is an "almond croissant almond milk matcha".
The Alcross Almoz is the biggest sign that all is not what it seems on Melbourne Cool, and is the only post that links out to another page: Soldier On.
Soldier On is a coffee roastery and cafe that has since changed names to EZY PZY. It's in Victoria, Melbourne.
A quick IP address search reveals that Melbourne Cool's website, melbournecool.com, is linked to the same address as EZY PZY – and an "Alex Holt" happens to work there, too.
Remember, the "chef" behind the "Herb E. Vore" eatery? Alexander Holt.
Holt was also one of the first people to share the Nutella spoon from the Melbourne Cool Facebook page as well. Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Holt confirmed a press release would be dropping later today and that he was "getting a popup ready" for tomorrow. He said the office space above EZY PZY was responsible for the linked IP address and that all further questions should be to Melbourne Cool.
When BuzzFeed News approached Melbourne Cool for comment, it was told that the owner of the Spoonful of Sugar popup store responsible for the product would be happy to chat. His name was Alex.
After agreeing to the interview, BuzzFeed News asked about the seriousness of all the posts on the page. It was met with silence. Melbourne Cool has not responded to multiple requests for comments since, and neither has EZY PZY.
Whether the whole thing is an art project, a legitimate testing ground for bizarre products and businesses, or an Onion-esque joke remains (relatively) unclear. Even if it is a joke, with the amount of press the whole thing has received they'd probably make some money with a quick pop-up.
I guess you can be the judge:
Brad Esposito is a news reporter for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney, Australia.
Contact Brad Esposito at email@example.com.
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