A recent advertising campaign by Starbucks India featuring a transgender model has sparked considerable discussion among social media users globally.
The campaign, titled “#ItStartsWithYourName,” is a two-minute advertisement that portrays a Hindi-speaking family gathering at a Starbucks location to address the strained relationship between a father and his transgender daughter. Initially, there is a sense of tension, but eventually, the father demonstrates his acceptance of his daughter by placing coffee orders for the entire family using her new name, “Arpita.”
In the ad, the father expresses his sentiments, which are translated into English subtitles, saying, “For me, you are still my kid. Only a letter has been added to your name.”
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Praise and opposition to the ad
Since its release last week, the advertisement has garnered millions of online views, generating a wide range of reactions from praise to strong opposition. Numerous individuals of South Asian descent have expressed that the portrayal resonates with their own experiences and view it as a significant stride towards progress for young LGBTQ individuals in India.
One Twitter user shared their perspective, stating, “I cannot imagine being estranged from my children for any reason, let alone for them embracing their true selves, but I understand that not everyone has reached that point yet. This Starbucks advertisement from India, a country that remains considerably conservative, conveys a powerful message.”
However, there has also been criticism from certain individuals in both the United States and India, who have accused Starbucks of embracing “wokeness.” Some have called for a boycott of the company due to its support for the LGBTQ community.
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Going woke, or broke?
An Australia-based news podcast host took to Twitter to express their views, stating, “Starbucks facing a backlash in India after going full Bud Light,” in reference to a recent collaboration between the beer brand and trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
The tweet further criticized Starbucks for introducing their so-called “woke” corporate culture to the Indian market, alongside their already saturated presence as a mediocre US coffee brand.
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In response to the backlash, a spokesperson for Starbucks affirmed that despite the criticism, the company remains committed to supporting the transgender community.
The Starbucks spokesperson provided a clear statement of the company’s stance, saying, “At Starbucks, we unequivocally support the LGBTQIA2+ community. Our campaign in India, #ItStartsWithYourName, demonstrates Tata Starbucks’ dedication to creating an inclusive environment where individuals of diverse backgrounds and identities feel embraced. We will persist in using our platform to promote greater awareness and understanding of the significance of inclusion and diversity within the communities we serve worldwide.”
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