Monday, May 23, 2005

Starbucks Doesn't Think I'm Sexy (III)

The phone rings this afternoon. Robin answers it and hands it to me.

"It's for you."

"Who is it?"

"Starbucks."

I take the phone and spend several minutes talking to a very nice woman whose job, I can only imagine, must be that of professional apologizer. The very cadences of her voice begged forgiveness for intruding on my valuable time, while simultaneously expressing the gratitude that a multinational corporation could never speak in its own person. I was informed by this lovely, disarming voice that my comments on the Starbucks Asian-man-turns-white commercial had been duly passed on to the appropriate people and would be taken into consideration for the future.

That was very nice of them, I said. But that meant the commercials were still running, unaltered?

Well, she confessed, yes, that was true, but she assured me that future generations of Starbucks marketers would benefit from my wisdom.

She also told me, in what was an almost embarrassed aside, that some Asian Americans in fact liked this commercial.

Robin suggested that they should have at least sent me a case of free Frappuccinos. You know. To see if they work.

4 comments:

Gary Norris said...
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Gary Norris said...

sounds like the Myrna Goldfarb character bit from Spike Lee's Bamboozled...

chen said...

tympan is right, there's no overreacting in this situation. asian american males are protrayed in the american media as the non-sexual and unwanted group of men. while on the other hand asian women are protrayed as exotic sex toys for the white man to possess. don't think it's true? look around you, whenever you see white dating asian couples, how many times do you see an asian guy with a white girl? and how many times do you see white men with asian girls? think of movies you've seen with asian men in them, often they are the stupid dorky ones who trip in the background while being mocked by the stunningly good looking white guy. if not, then they must be some super geek who is smart but can't do anything else, or some kind of martial art master who shows no emotions, how many times do you see the asian male character end up kissing the woman main character in those movies? so while this commercial may not have been intentionally racist, however, it is unconsciously promoting the negative asian male stereotype. while michael buble is great, we do not need another one of these asian male bashing commercials written by the white jerkoffs with their sickening fantasies.

Anonymous said...

I was involved in producing the commericial. I wanna say that everyone turns into MB, not just the asian man. and he was supposed to be fashionable--not nerdy. the asian man just happened to outperform the rest of the auditioners and got the bigger role.

it's sad that we fought to get a racially balanced cast and because of comments like yours big companies are actually more hypersensitive about casting so-called "minorities." now companies will just be more likely to avoid the issue by avoiding casting non- caucasians. no joke. that's the fallout from this kind of stuff.