Groundbreaking New Starbucks India Ad Featuring Trans Woman Hit With Conservative Backlash
A recent ad campaign by Starbucks India featuring a transgender model sparked controversy and garnered mixed reactions on social media platforms worldwide.
Titled "#ItStartsWithYourName," the two-minute advertisement portrays a Hindi-speaking family gathering at a Starbucks to reconcile the strained relationship between a father and his transgender daughter.
Initially met with tension, the father ultimately expresses his acceptance by ordering coffees for the entire family under his daughter's new name, "Arpita."
You can see the ad for yourself below.
The ad—viewed millions of times since its release last week—evoked a wide range of responses.
People heaped their praises on the ad for representation, authenticity and the overall message. But it also met staunch opposition from transphobes.
Many individuals of South Asian descent commended the depiction, stating it resonates with their own experiences and represents a significant step forward for young members of the LGBTQ+ community in India.
\u201cMy best friend showed me this @StarbucksIndia advert yesterday and it reduced me to tears. It\u2019s groundbreaking adverts like this which are SO important when it comes to changing attitudes around queer folk, especially in a world where transphobia is becoming even more rampant.\u201d— Asad Zafar (@Asad Zafar) 1683974472
\u201c@StarbucksIndia As a father, some of us might be old school or opinionated, but never ever have any doubt about our love for our children. It still trumps everything in the end. My kid dresses however they want and if you say something about it you and I will have to have a talk.\u201d— Starbucks India (@Starbucks India) 1683688080
\u201c@StarbucksIndia I understand the Father\u2019s Pain and Dilemma BUT his Son just could no longer live as someone whom he never associated himself with and that is the Harsh Truth .\n\nThis is LIFE . Not always what we want it to be.\n\nBOLD Ad by @StarbucksIndia . \ud83d\udc4f\ud83d\udc4f\u201d— Starbucks India (@Starbucks India) 1683688080
\u201c@StarbucksIndia Such a lovely advertisement. I am a Starbucks fan now. Way to go guys !\ud83d\udc90\u201d— Starbucks India (@Starbucks India) 1683688080
\u201c@StarbucksIndia Dear Starbucks, \n\nThese days common sense is very uncommon so some bigots wont understand the emotion.\n\nThis is an incredible ad so let's hope that the LGBTQ+ community finds more such allies .\u201d— Starbucks India (@Starbucks India) 1683688080
However, transphobic critics in both the United States and India condemned Starbucks.
They've accused the company of embracing "wokeness."
Some called for a boycott much like the one after transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney partnered with Bud Light's parent company Anheuser-Busch.
\u201cBen Shapiro: "Starbucks is now exporting the transness to India"\u201d— Jason S. Campbell (@Jason S. Campbell) 1684424722
\u201cStarbucks pushes the woke transgender agenda in... India \ud83c\uddee\ud83c\uddf3 \n\nBoycott Starbucks\u203c\ufe0f\u201d— BRODIE_noChooChoo \ud83d\udd34 (@BRODIE_noChooChoo \ud83d\udd34) 1684436926
\u201cI hate coffee! I never had anything from this sorry place & never will! India has every right to be angry. \n\n https://t.co/Pr7pqILHV3\u201d— BJStov (@BJStov) 1684264796
\u201c\u2018India Boycott Starbucks\u201d \n\nthe brand faces backlash for transgender ad promoting gender fluidity.\n\nGo woke, go broke.\n\nhttps://t.co/hqPnsO3mko\u201d— Phoneix reloaded (@Phoneix reloaded) 1684235249
Despite the backlash, a Starbucks spokesperson affirmed the company's unwavering support for the transgender community.
The spokesperson emphasized the advertisement "shows how Tata Starbucks is committed to making people of all backgrounds and identities feel welcome." The spokesperson further reiterated Starbucks' dedication to using its platform to advocate for "inclusion and diversity across the communities" it serves worldwide.
The ad's impact reaches beyond the boundaries of traditional advertising, serving as a catalyst for discussions surrounding acceptance, family dynamics and LGBTQ+ rights, highlighting the challenges faced by transgender individuals in India and beyond.
By featuring a transgender model and showcasing a narrative of familial acceptance, Starbucks India's campaign seeks to promote empathy, understanding and inclusivity.