At first glance, this photo looks like your average food-porn pancake shot, with syrup cascading over a stack of fluffy flapjacks.
Look more closely, though — "zoom in on the syrup," as the accompanying tweet from Denny's instructs — and hidden in the outer ring of the syrup, south of the pat of butter, is a message: "look at the lower left corner."
It's the latest example of the "zoom in" memes that are popping up online, where hidden instructions in photos eventually point you, scavenger-hunt style, to a final message.
This syrupy stack — already one of the most-shared and most-liked branded posts in Twitter history — is catching on in an extraordinary way, though: At this writing, it already had 136,000 likes and 97,000 retweets and counting.
WARNING: SPOILER BELOW
After a few more directionals ("now look at at the lower right corner," then "now look at the upper left corner," and then “now look in the butter”) you end up on that pat of butter, with this tiny font: "has this distracted you from overwhelming existential dread lol."
America did not expect a breakfast joint to look down into its very soul, but seemed to welcome the distraction:
Of course, there is something of a Hunger Games competition going on among national restaurant chains on Twitter, and IHOP took the chance to throw shade:
Not to be outdone, Denny's fans threw it right back:
Uh oh. Looks like a pancake war is brewing, but Denny's seems to be winning right now.
"We see our social media channels as the online version of the Denny’s booth," John Dillon, Denny's CMO, told TODAY Food in a statement, adding that the social team takes an “always on” approach, looking for trending stories, memes and pop culture moments "that have America talking."
So what does this one in particular have going for it? Well, pancakes. But also, while many zoom memes feature, say, a dog's nose, and end with a corny joke or sappy message, this one finishes with a clever, philosophical reward.