Hijabi-ho-ho-ho? Starbucks get slammed in latest Christmas promo

28 Nov 2023 09:34pm
Starbucks Christmas Promo - @Starbucks Malaysia (X)
Starbucks Christmas Promo - @Starbucks Malaysia (X)

SHAH ALAM - Starbucks has recently faced criticism over its Christmas promotion, which features hijabi Muslim models, sparking a debate among netizens.

In their latest social media campaign for a special Christmas offer, Starbucks displayed images of hijabi Muslims, alongside a promotion for handcrafted beverages.

“Double up on your favourite handcrafted beverages this weekend, buy one and get another for free from Nov 25 to Nov 26, all-day long!

“PS: Applicable for any handcrafted beverages, including holiday seasonal beverages and also reserve beverages!” the company said in their social media caption.

This move has led to a flurry of discontent on various social media platforms.

X user, @noajila, pointed out the impact of consumer choices, likening the situation to boycotting overpriced products as advised by a minister. They suggested that even large brands like Starbucks aren't immune to consumer backlash.

“Even big brands are affected. That's why when cartels manipulate prices, we boycott together.

“As the minister said, if chicken is expensive? Don't buy chicken. Choose another option for the time being. Pressurise them,” they said.

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Another user, @sabarunii, questioned the appropriateness of using Muslim models with hijabs for a Christmas-themed promotion, implying that Starbucks might be desperate in their marketing choices.

“Christmas promotion but using Malay models with hijab.

“Is Starbucks really that desperate?” she questioned.

@farehajohari expressed surprise at seeing hijabi models in a non-festive advertisement, noting that only hands, products, or models with free hair are typically shown except during specific festive occasions like Hari Raya or Independence Day.

“Usually, it's just hands, products, or free hair talent (except for festive occasions like Eid, Independence Day, and even then, faces aren't shown).

“What are you trying to do? People are boycotting you, you should be more sensitive instead of deliberately causing issues,” she said.

Meanwhile, @syazaismail slammed the use of hijabi models for promoting holiday season beverages, finding it inappropriate and clarifying that her objection was not related to the Israel's war crime.

“Holiday season beverages? And hijabi models?

“That's wrong on so many levels, and this has nothing to do with Israel at all,” she said.

@TerraDrone3 questioned the logic behind associating Muslims with Christmas in the campaign, labeling it as tone-deaf, especially considering the current societal context.

“Even if the current war crime wasn't happening, whose brilliant idea was it to associate Muslims with Christmas?

“The sheer tone deafness is astounding,” they said.

The boycott of the products had been ongoing but it had intensified since the bombing campaign on Gaza since Oct 7, following Hamas’ operation.

Malaysia isn’t the only country boycotting Starbucks.

There are reports from the media overseas that Indonesia and Arab countries are doing the same.

Recently, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a public statement stating that Malaysians need to continue boycotting these brands.

Netizens have stood their ground and are continuing the boycotts.