Well here's a big ol' wtf for today. Ikea Thailand is now on the Thai LGBT's hit list thanks to an ad featuring, you guessed it, a Transgender.
I don't even need to speak Thai to understand what's going on here. Older dude walking along in an Ikea with his very obvious (to everyone but him, of course) Transgendered girlfriend. The girlfriend who at that point had been laughing at chatting away, all of a sudden sees the word "sale." Her voice drops to manly octave. Old dude gets freaked. She tries to laugh it off. So does her. We then end with Transgender left having to move her own shit because the dude is now sneaking off.
The spot, called "Luem Aeb" which means "Forget to Keep Hidden" aired on trains in Thailand, as well as on Youtube.
The Thai Transgender Alliance, was not pleased, and sent an open letter to Ikea who opened its first store in Thailand back in 2011. In part it read
'The MTF transgender/transwomen character is openly mocked as being "deceitful",' read the open letter to IKEA from Thai Transgender Alliance.
'The transgender content of the advertisement is negative and stereotypical in nature, perpetuating misunderstanding transgenderism as human sexuality for "deceitful and deviant lifestyle".'
I totally get that. But I'm also offended by the 'dumb old guy' shtick that we continue to see in ads across the globe. That is also offense. Ladyboys aren't all deceitful and old guys aren't all dumb. Can we come up with some new concepts now, please?
Either way, Ikea is trying to make nice. According to Yahoo news, An Ikea spokesperson, who declined ot give his name said: "IKEA has spoken to the group over the telephone and the conversation went very smoothly. We are now drafting a letter in response."
Between this and Ikea's Saudi Arabia kerfuffle last year, the cultural flubbing seems like it's becoming a pattern. Let's hope not.
P.S. you can see the spot on Adland right ova here