Tata Starbucks India’s “#ItStartsWithYourName” Campaign: An Analysis

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Name of the campaign: #ItStartsWithYourName
Launch date: May 11, 2023
Campaign goal: To promote inclusivity and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in India
Campaign message: “Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.”

The campaign features a transgender model named Sia as the protagonist. The ad shows Sia meeting her father at a Starbucks store for the first time since she came out as transgender. The father is initially hesitant, but he eventually comes around and accepts his daughter for who she is. The ad ends with the father calling out Sia’s name at the counter, using her new name; Arpita.

Overview of the Campaign

The “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign, launched on May 11, 2023, has sparked a range of reactions from the public. While some people have praised Starbucks for its commitment to inclusivity, others have criticized the company for using a transgender model to sell coffee. The campaign aims to promote inclusivity and acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in India, with the central message emphasizing that everyone deserves respect regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Controversies Surrounding the Campaign

Since its launch, the “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign has faced mixed reactions. One of the main points of contention is the accusation that Starbucks is exploiting the LGBTQIA+ community to boost coffee sales, leading some to question the company’s true commitment to inclusivity. Critics argue that it is merely a marketing strategy aimed at profiting from the community, rather than a genuine effort to foster acceptance and equality.

Another criticism leveled against the campaign is that it perpetuates stereotypes about transgender individuals, potentially doing harm rather than providing support. Detractors claim that the portrayal of Sia’s story may reinforce certain assumptions and misconceptions about transgender people, which can contribute to societal prejudices and hinder progress in achieving true equality.

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Positive Aspects of the Campaign

Amid the controversies, the “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign has brought about several positive outcomes. One notable achievement is that it has initiated a broader conversation about LGBTQIA+ rights in India, which is a significant step toward fostering greater acceptance within the country. By featuring a transgender protagonist, the campaign has effectively raised awareness of the discrimination faced by transgender individuals, shedding light on the challenges they encounter in their everyday lives.

The positive portrayal of transgender people in the campaign has received praise from many within the LGBTQIA+ community. The depiction of Sia’s father eventually accepting and embracing his daughter’s true identity resonated with individuals who have experienced similar struggles, offering hope and encouragement. The campaign serves as a powerful representation of the importance of family acceptance and support in the transgender community.

Moreover, the “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign has the potential to create a ripple effect in society. By showcasing the journey of a transgender individual and emphasizing the importance of respecting one’s chosen name and identity, it encourages viewers to reflect on their own biases and prejudices. This introspection can lead to a more inclusive and accepting society, benefiting not just the LGBTQIA+ community but society as a whole.

Negative Consequences or Drawbacks Associated with this Marketing Effort

Despite the campaign’s positive impact, some negative consequences and drawbacks have emerged. Critics argue that Starbucks should avoid involvement in social and political issues, deeming the campaign too political for a coffee company. They assert that Starbucks should focus solely on its business operations and avoid taking a stance on sensitive topics to prevent alienating certain customers.

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Furthermore, the decision to use a transgender model to promote coffee has faced criticism from those who view it as an attempt to exploit the LGBTQIA+ community. This criticism has fueled calls for a boycott of Starbucks, resulting in a portion of the population refraining from patronizing the brand. The boycott serves as evidence of the polarizing nature of the campaign and the challenges faced by companies when addressing social issues.

However, it is important to note that Starbucks has a history of supporting social causes and championing diversity and inclusivity. The company’s involvement in such campaigns aligns with its corporate values and commitment to social responsibility. While some may argue that a coffee company should focus solely on its products, Starbucks has chosen to use its platform to promote important social issues, reflecting a growing trend among corporations to engage with their customers on a deeper level beyond just transactional relationships.

Balanced Response

To provide a balanced analysis of the “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign, it is crucial to maintain a neutral tone and present objective facts without expressing personal opinions. By evaluating both the positive and negative aspects, a comprehensive understanding of the campaign’s impact can be achieved.

On the positive side, the campaign has successfully sparked conversations surrounding LGBTQIA+ rights in India, indicating progress towards acceptance. It has also played a role in raising awareness of transgender discrimination, fostering empathy and understanding among the general public. These outcomes contribute to the ongoing fight against prejudice and discrimination faced by transgender individuals.

Moreover, the campaign’s positive portrayal of transgender individuals and their relationships, such as Sia’s father accepting her true identity, highlights the importance of family support and acceptance. This representation can provide hope and encouragement to transgender individuals who may be facing similar challenges in their personal lives.


Conversely, some concerns have been raised regarding Starbucks’ involvement in social and political issues. Critics argue that the campaign goes beyond the company’s core business and may lead to divisiveness among its customer base. They assert that Starbucks should focus solely on its business operations and avoid taking a stance on sensitive topics to prevent alienating certain customers.

It is important to acknowledge these concerns and the potential impact on the brand’s reputation. Companies must carefully navigate social issues to strike a balance between expressing their values and maintaining a positive relationship with their customers. This delicate balance requires thoughtful consideration and ongoing engagement with stakeholders.


In conclusion, the “#ItStartsWithYourName” campaign has evoked both positive and negative reactions from the public. While it has successfully initiated important conversations and raised awareness, it has also faced criticism for being politically charged and potentially exploitative. As the campaign continues to unfold, its long-term impact on Indian society remains uncertain. Nevertheless, it is evident that the campaign has already made a significant impact by bringing LGBTQIA+ issues to the forefront of public discourse. By encouraging dialogue and fostering understanding, campaigns like “#ItStartsWithYourName” contribute to the gradual progress of achieving a more inclusive society for all. Starbucks’ engagement in this campaign reflects its commitment to social responsibility and its willingness to use its platform for positive change.

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