IKEA has apologized for its characterization of a transgender woman in an ad shown in Thailand.

The 20-second ad, titled Forget to Keep Hidden (Luem Aeb), was shown on YouTube.com and on Bangkok's trains. It featured a transgender woman whose voice becomes suddenly deep when she sees a sale sign. When the woman begins to tote packages of furniture on her own, her male friend scurries away scared. (Watch the commercial.)

In a January 9 letter to the Swedish furniture giant, the group Thai Transgender Alliance complained about the ad, calling the ad's content “negative and stereotypical in nature.”

“The MTF transgender/transwoman character is openly mocked as being 'deceitful,'” the group wrote.

“We have carefully considered your concerns expressed in your letter and would like to apologize for any unintended offence created in the TV commercial which featured the surprise of a lady transgender customer who encounters the specials offered in our recent year end sale advertising campaign,” wrote Gannrapee Chatchaidamrong, marketing manager of IKEA Thailand. “IKEA is for the many people, respecting individuals with different views and opinions. We welcome all people to the IKEA stores, independent of religion, political view, ethnic background or sexual preference etc.”