Starbucks ad inspired
by transgender people testing out new names

Retailer News

Retailer News

10 February

Starbucks ad inspired by transgender people testing out new names

Starbucks has launched a new ad in the U.K. that illustrates the story of a transgender person's transition through the chain's tradition of asking customers their name and writing it on the cup, Campaign reported. The campaign will run across TV, digital, video-on-demand, out-of-home and in stores.

(Author : Dianna Christie)

The new "What’s your name" spot from ad agency Iris centers on James, who is challenged when people continue to call him by his birth name, "Jemma," during his transition. He finds acceptance when he goes to Starbucks and orders a coffee, shares his name James and hears the barista calling it out. 

The campaign was inspired by social media, where transgender people have shared stories of trying out their new names at Starbucks on YouTube, per BBC. Starbucks is also teaming up with non-profit Mermaids, which supports transgender youth. The coffee chain will sell mermaid cookies in stores across the U.K., donating a portion of profits to the non-profit. 

In highlighting the coffee chain as a safe haven for transgender people, Starbucks is establishing where it stands on inclusivity. By including the voices of transgender people who have organically shared their stories of trialing new names at Starbucks, the brand is showing that it is not only open to a diverse customer base, but that it is listening to all parts of that base when marketing around what makes its brand special.

Starbucks joins other brands in supporting the trans community with inclusive marketing messagingProcter & Gamble has been a leader in this space. It's Gillette brand expanded its #MyBestSelf campaign to include a short video of a transgender teen being taught to shave by his father. The video features the closing message, "Whenever, however it happens — your first shave is special."

In addition, P&G's Always line of sanitary products dropped the Venus symbol from its branding in order to be more inclusive after transgender and nonbinary individuals petitioned the company to remove the symbol typically associated with women. The argument is that groups that don't identify as female, like transgender men, can get periods, and also that not all women menstruate.

In addition to P&G, boxing brand Everlast created the global "Be First" campaign, last fall, that spotlights Patricio Manuel, the world's first male professional boxer who is transgender. Likewise, Mattel unveiled a customizable, gender-inclusive doll line called Creatable World so that kids can create their own characters with different hair lengths and apparel.




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