#ItStartsWithYourName: Starbucks’s Viral Ad Campaign Divides Internet

Starbucks has delivered a powerful message with the ad.

An advertisement by popular coffee chain Starbucks has divided the internet with its campaign #ItStartsWithYourName that started trending massively. A section of social media users are disappointed with the advertisement saying it  “hurts” their sentiments, while others are happy that a big brand like Starbucks brought up the issue. The backlash became to severe that social media users even threatened to boycott the company.

The company, however, said that a person’s name defines who they are, regardless of their gender. The company also said the ad expresses love and acceptance for all individuals who embrace their true selves.

The advertisement shows a scene inside a coffee shop with an elderly couple waiting for their child Arpit to arrive. While the father appears upset with his son’s decision to undergo sex change and change the name to Arpita, the mother can be seen urging him to remain calm. 

As the ad progresses, a young girl comes and sits next to the couple. The ad then reveals that the parents were actually meeting their transgender daughter for the first time after she changed her sex.

The father orders coffee for the entire family, but to the girl’s surprise, the Starbucks barista says, “Three cold coffees for Arpita.”

The ad also has an emotional moment when Arpita realises that the family has finally accepted her decision.

In the accompanying tweet posted on May 10, Starbucks said, “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.”

A section of social media users boycotted the coffee brand for its “subtle messaging”. Others, however, welcomed the move.

“…to see something inclusive and non-judgemental in these days of polarizing communications and weaponized hate… is genuinely welcome,” communications strategy consultant Karthik Srinivasan tweeted.

The ad comes at a time when the Supreme Court is deliberating on petitions seeking legal recognition for same-sex marriage.

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