No More Dead-naming: Starbucks’ New Ad Celebrates Transitioning

No More Dead-naming: Starbucks’ New Ad Celebrates Transitioning

Starbucks recently came up with an advertisement that blew people’s minds away. The new commercial tells the story of a transgender kid trailing his new name. This ad was launched on February 2nd. The ad is about the lifechanging moment when transgender people use their new name in public.

It captures the occurrences of deadnaming. Deadnaming is when someone intentionally or not names a transgender by the name used before they transitioned.

The new Starbucks commercial

Scene from the advertisment/ starbucks
Image courtesy: PinkNews

The advertisement shows a trans kid. He goes through many situations where his deadname is used. At the doctor’s appointment, he is called James. Moreover, he even receives a parcel with that name. The jarring sensation of being called Jemma is clearly shown in the Starbucks commercial.

At the end of the ad, James goes to Starbucks. He orders a coffee. There he says that his name is James. The barista writes the name on the cup and calls him James.

Trans people can relate to situations like this.

This Starbucks commercial clearly depicts how trans people feel when they are called the right name. They feel comfortable, safe and loved. That is exactly what the commercial tries to depict.

The ad is called What’s your name. And it was created by Iris: a creative agency. The ad is based on real-life stories of transgender YouTubers. These YouTubers talk about trying out their new names in Starbucks. They see it as a safe place that is away from the potential judgment of family and friends.

The groundbreaking advert receives an award

The commercial won Channel 4’s Diversity in Advertising competition. Moreover, the award gives £1 million worth of commercial airtime to the best campaign idea that features diversity.

This year’s theme for the competition was LGBTQ+ representation. Previous year the contest challenged brands to portray disability and gender in their ads.

The coffee giant supports trans communities

Mermaid cookies/ starbucks
Image courtesy:

“It was critical for us to tell ‘James’s story’ in an authentic way, so we spent time with people from the trans community who have experienced ‘dead-naming’ to make sure our work truly reflects their experiences,” said Amy Bryson, managing partner at Iris, the creative agency Starbucks partnered with on the ad.

She hopes that the campaign raises awareness about the importance of identity and acceptance. Mostly during times when hate crime is on the rise.

Channel 4 did research which revealed that only 0.3 percent of commercials feature trans people. They hope that the award will challenge the lack of representation of LGBTQ+ people in advertisements. In addition, only 1 percent of the UK population consists of trans people.

What is more, is that Starbucks is a partner with Mermaids. Mermaids is a charity organization the supports gender diverse children, young people, and their families. And they have pledged to raise at least £100,000 for the charity. More than 975 outlets will serve limited-edition mermaid cookies. A portion of every sale will be going to expand the organization’s helpline which serves young people and their families.

“We are absolutely thrilled to announce that this powerful @StarbucksUK campaign will be raising money to help grow our helpline services. Real people with real stories making a real difference. As if we didn’t love cookies enough.” -Mermaids

James’  joy is palpable.

Scene from the commercial/ starbucks
Image courtesy: PinkNews

The joy James feels in the advertisement when he hears his name is just palpable. Research backs up this feeling. It shows that using correct names and pronouns for trans people reduces their rates of anxiety and depression. It also reduces their suicidal thoughts to almost the same levels as their cisgender counterparts.

Susie Green is the CEO of mermaids. She says that it is thrilling to be a part of such a fantastic campaign. Moreover, it is also very empowering. After 25 years of experience, she knows how important it is to acknowledge people’s true identities.

Advertisements play a huge part in shaping people’s minds. Exposing trans people in the advertisement will make them feel less isolated. They will understand that they are valued.

Annie Wallace was the first transgender person to portray a reoccurring character in a British soap opera. She was one of the judges for the Chanel 4 competition.

The IPA, Marketing Society, Stonewall was also on the judging panel along with the LGBTQ+ awards.

More advertisements like this will help in spreading knowledge about the LGBTQ community. In doing so, people will feel more welcomed and valued. In turn, it will make a huge difference in the community and outside.

Starbucks has been a huge supporter of the LGBTQ community for a while now. And in doing so they have raised many funds to support them.

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