IKEA Thailand has apologized to Thai Transgender Alliance for ‘the unintended offense’ caused by an advert featuring a transgender person.
The advert, shown on Bangkok’s BTS Skytrain system and YouTube, features a transgender woman who is so shocked by a sale item she speaks in a masculine voice – causing the man she is with to run away.
‘The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature,’ said Thai Transgender Alliance in a letter of complaint to IKEA.
‘I would like to apologize for the unintended offense may caused and we will be more careful in the future,’ said IKEA Thailand marketing manager Gannrapee Chatchaidamrong.
In an attempt to explain the thinking behind the advert Chatchaidamrong said:
‘We run many "spoof advertisements" where the friendly humor is intended to be an essential component. This was the intention in our campaign, where we also featured a number of different people from a spectrum of Thai society "forgetting themselves" when they are so surprised at the value of the prices in our sale.’
Chatchaidamrong also insisted that IKEA is ‘politically and religiously independent’ and that ‘we welcome all people to the IKEA stores, independent of religion, political view, ethnic background or sexual preference etc’.
Watch the offending advert here: