Popular coffee brand Starbucks found itself deep in controversy for its new marketing campaign. On May 10, they released a new advertisement focussing on transgender rights. 'It Starts With Your Name' was the tagline or hashtag of the campaign by Starbucks India. In the two-minute, four-second clip, they showed a parent duo sitting at a Starbucks outlet. They were waiting for their son at the coffee shop, and it seemed that the father was having trouble accepting his decision to transition into female identity.
Take a look at the full ad by Starbucks here:
The story of the advertisement was that the father's relationship with his son 'Arpit' was troubled after his decision to transition to a female identity -'Arpita'. The tension in the interaction is quite apparent when the mother cautions him not to get angry this time. However, it seems that over time, the father came to terms with the transition and in fact, indicated his acceptance by ordering coffee for the family of 'Arpita'.
"Your name defines who you are - whether it's Arpit or Arpita. At Starbucks, we love and accept you for who you are. Because being yourself means everything to us," read the tweet by the official handle.
The marketing campaign by Starbucks went viral in a span of just 48 hours, garnering over 2.5 million tweet views and 530k video views. The advertisement focussed on transgender rights and inclusivity stirred up a debate on social media. Some felt that it was breaking the mould and championing a good cause. "Good to see some effort for gender inclusivity in India," said one user. Others felt that this kind of subject needed to be dealt with in a sensitive manner, and the campaign was not necessary in the first place. "Why was this advertisement necessary you were already doing good in India," said one user. The hashtag 'Boycott Starbucks' too began to trend on Twitter in India on May 12.