SEOUL, June 24 (Korea Bizwire) – Starbucks Korea’s latest promotional campaign to provide free coffee to soldiers who are on special leave granted by the president is triggering controversy among some women.
Women’s organizations such as WOMAD and Megalia have been bombarded with comments and complaints regarding the recent promotion, with many claiming that it is unfair for free coffee to be offered to male soldiers when most of the franchise’s customers are women.
Starbucks Korea has also been inundated with phone calls requesting that the promotion be called off. The users of these websites, which are usually referred to as women’s versions of Ilbe for their propensity to show hatred towards men, have even started to boycott Starbucks.
From last year’s Armed Forces Day, October 1, to September 30 of this year, Starbucks Korea is holding a special promotion in which the “Coffee of the Day” is offered for free to all soldiers who present proof that they’re on a special leave granted by the president. Starbucks is not alone in offering benefits to these soldiers – 64 companies representing 90 brands in Korea also offer similar discounts and promotions.
Free admission tickets to Samsung Everland, Lotte World, and sporting events, and discounts on various clothing brands and food and beverage stores are part of the promotional campaigns.
The reason why Starbucks Korea has been the target of hot debate is that stories about soldiers getting free coffee at Starbucks have been posted online recently.
Most netizens say this type of promotional event should not be an issue. Some even pointed out that these soldiers on a special leave include female soldiers as well. Fervent women’s right activists are maybe going a little bit too far.
By M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)