On May 10, Starbucks India posted a video promoting their recent ad campaign ‘#ItStartsWithYourName’. Well, this advertisement is all about society accepting transgender people. Soon after the ad was shared it faced backlash from the social media users.
What is even more controversial is that the famous Tata group holds shares in the company and people have started calling for boycotting not only Starbucks but Tata as well.
Sharing the viral ad video, Starbucks India wrote, “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. #ItStartsWithYourName”
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. #ItStartsWithYourName. 💚 pic.twitter.com/DKNGhKZ1Hg
— Starbucks India (@StarbucksIndia) May 10, 2023
In the viral video, a couple sitting at a Starbucks coffee shop called their son named Arpit, but he did not pick up the call. The woman tells her husband to speak calmly when their son arrives. However, in the next shot a woman dressed in a red gown enters the shop, he looks like Arpit. The next slide shows, he is sitting with the couple, as they are his/her parents.
It is depicted in the video that, Arpit who was raised as a boy revealed after his teenage that he is not a boy but a girl from inside. He is wearing a gown and accessories including bracelets and chains. Then he taps his fingers on the table, and the camera zooms in shows he has long nails as well. Then the man stands up and goes to order the coffee. The receptionist announces, “Three coffee for ARPITA”. The boy/girl sitting at the table gets teary-eyed and celebrates his acceptance. By the end of the video, the man says, “So what, only a letter has been added to your name, from ARPIT to ARPITA, you are still my child only,” they all laugh and the camera zooms out.
It is pertinent to mention that, in India, Starbucks is “Tata Starbucks Private Limited” which is a 50:50 joint venture company, owned by Tata Consumer Products and Starbucks Corporation, that owns and operates Starbucks outlets in India.
This is not Starbucks’s first time promoting homosexuality or supporting the LGBTQ campaign. In July 2022, Starbucks joined more than 170 organizations and the Human Rights Campaign in urging the U.S. Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.
Between June 2021 and May 2022, The Starbucks Foundation has provided more than 300 grants to non-profit organizations supporting LGBTQIA2+ communities.
Back in 2012, Starbucks announced its support for Washington’s state’s referendum backing gay marriage, and in response, the National Organization for Marriage launched a boycott of the coffee chain.
In 2013, a shareholder questioned Starbuck’s public support of gay marriage. The CEO suggested the shareholder sell his shares.
Well, Starbucks has been supporting taking part in the whole LGBTQ and same-sex marriage row around the world since 1998. Here is the timeline: here.
Reacting to the video shared by Starbucks India, people on social media platforms expressed their anger against the ad campaign. Here are some of the reactions:
Son of the Home Minister Amit Shah and BCCI head Jay Shah wrote, “They wanted to push propaganda, but couldn’t hire an actual “trans” person, but instead hired a girl”
— Norbert Elikes (@NorbertElikes) May 11, 2023
A user wrote, “New filth in market frnds, now average tafri tea lover will show outrage while there actual coustomer base will eat this sh it with their hands without asking for recyclable spoon.”
New filth in market frnds, now average tafri tea lover will show outrage while there actual coustomer base will eat this sh it with their hands without asking for recyclable spoon. Enjoy. https://t.co/yweSCk7a7v
— Rango (@rango_tryme) May 11, 2023
Another user wrote, “Won’t say your days are numbered but if you really stand by this shit use Muslim names, you know, for diversity sake”
Won’t say your days are numbered but if you really stand by this shit use Muslim names, you know, for diversity sake https://t.co/BA03SKgOdo
— Phani (@sankarapaadam) May 11, 2023
A user said he will never visit Starbucks. He wrote, “Never visited a store. Never Will. Over Priced Propaganda. Strangely, all these people are usually Communists and cry for equality, but they always get promoted by highly capitalist companies whose products are for elites only.”
A user wrote, “Transgenders have always existed for thousands of years.Acceptance or mockery is your personal choice. I am nobody to tell you. But I don’t have problem with it. While I find 72 gender BS and LGBT activists annoying, I refrain from hating individuals based on global woke pandemic”
Transgenders have always existed for thousands of years.Acceptance or mockery is your personal choice. I am nobody to tell you. But I don't have problem with it. While I find 72 gender BS and LGBT activists annoying, I refrain from hating individuals based on global woke pandemic https://t.co/vuIDW3nOyd
— Аshish Pradhan 🇮🇳🇺🇦🕉️⚕️🩺 (@DrAshishPradhan) May 11, 2023
A user wrote, “Guess what? TATA operates all Starbucks outlets in India and now with their TISS, TATA spreading his globalist friends Woke agenda”
Another user said, “Long before I have already predicted this. The #SameSexMarriage is a Business, a thousand crores Business, and #CJIDyChandrachud is simply pushing it in the clad of Constitutional Burqa.”
Long before I have already predicted this. The #SameSexMarriage is a Business, a thousand crores Business, and #CJIDyChandrachud is simply pushing it in the clad of Constitutional Burqa. https://t.co/tu1go9B4kZ https://t.co/54KBfIwsat
— LambodarPrasadDash (@LambodarPrDash) May 11, 2023
Speaking about the campaign, Deepa Krishnan, Chief Marketing Officer, TATA Starbucks Pvt Ltd said, “Starbucks has always been a warm, welcoming space for its customers where relationships are fostered, and personal connections are celebrated over a cup of coffee. The unique Starbucks experience where everyone feels welcome is what drives our growth.”
She added, “At Starbucks, we are not in the coffee business serving people, but in the people business serving coffee, nurturing the limitless possibilities of human connection every day. With the #ItStartsWithYourName campaign – we hope to further drive the message of being a welcoming, inclusive brand where nothing matters to us more than our customers’ comfort. We understand that our customers enjoy and cherish their individuality and we are always ready to celebrate it with them.”
However, the ad is facing ‘Boycott calls’ by the social media users, no statement in this regard has come to light so far.