In a recent marketing move, Starbucks India has found itself at the center of a storm, as conservative voices rise in protest against what they see as an objectionable advertisement. This controversy has fueled calls for a boycott and raised questions about the intrusion of Western values into traditional Indian culture.

The commercial in question portrays a heartfelt moment between a father and his transgender daughter, as they reunite at a Starbucks location. The story unfolds as the father initially struggles to accept his child’s transition but eventually comes to terms with it, symbolically embracing his daughter’s new identity by ordering a beverage with her new name.

Starbucks India accompanied the video with the message, “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.”

However, this seemingly heartfelt message has not resonated well with all sections of the Indian society, especially those with conservative leanings. Rukshan Fernando, a prominent political commentator, remarked on Twitter, “Starbucks facing a backlash in India after going full Bud Light. If saturating the market with a mediocre US coffee brand wasn’t bad enough, now they are bringing their woke corporate culture to the Sub-Continent.”

One concerned individual commented, “It is deeply disconcerting to witness the rapid erosion of cultural identity in our current era. Certain liberal forces persistently normalize practices that appear to undermine the very fabric of our cherished traditions and deeply held values. The pace at which this unsettling phenomenon unfolds is cause for genuine alarm. It is NOT a coincidence. It is a deliberate strategy.”

The controversy has prompted some loyal Starbucks customers to rethink their loyalty. A Twitter user expressed their disappointment, saying, “I am a huge Starbucks fan. I virtually spend thousands of rupees in their coffee shop every year. But still, I can’t believe why @StarbucksIndia would launch a woke campaign in the name of advertisement? Can’t they just market their coffee and service to India? Their service is the best in the world. Who designs such campaigns to guilt trip people which don’t appeal/apply to even 0.1% Indians? Perhaps I should shift my allegiance to Thirdwave coffee which has better coffee and equally good service and interiors like #Starbucks.”

Another voice in the crowd declared, “What are you promoting @Starbucks…Don’t promote such culture…we don’t want any lessons on the acceptance of such immoral values…we are Bharatvasis & we are very proud of our civilization and culture…we aren’t some #BollywoodVultures to Promote such culture. Abstain from such Ads.”

Critics argue that such advertisements alienate a significant portion of the population, making them question the wisdom of such virtue-signaling campaigns. One frustrated Twitter user stated, “I don’t understand why brands do this… these ads alienate huge portions of the population. Whatever happened to common sense advertising? Videos like this alienate more customers than they bring in. Literally throwing advertising dollars in the trash just to virtue signal.”

This incident has ignited a broader debate about the global spread of woke culture, with Starbucks India being the latest example of this phenomenon. It raises questions about the extent to which Western ideals are infiltrating cultures worldwide, sometimes at the expense of local values and traditions.

As the controversy continues to unfold, Starbucks India finds itself in the midst of a cultural clash, highlighting the challenges faced by companies attempting to navigate the fine line between promoting inclusivity and respecting traditional values.