A new ad from coffee giant Starbucks celebrates transgender people and the power of name recognition.
Airing in the United Kingdom, the ad, titled “Every name’s a story,” follows a transgender teenager as he is repeatedly deadnamed — referred to by his birth name — by a delivery person, by his doctor, and even by his own father.
The ad ends in a Starbucks, where the boy gives his name to the barista and subsequently has it called out when his coffee is ready.
“Taking a customer’s name, writing it on a cup and calling it out is a symbol of our warm welcome,” Starbucks said in a press release. “It is part of the Starbucks Experience and creates a moment of connection between our baristas and customers.
“Starbucks #whatsyourname campaign celebrates this signature act and the significance it can have for some transgender and gender diverse people as they use their new name in public. The advert, created in partnership with creative agency Iris, was inspired by real life experiences of people who were transitioning. We discovered that they found Starbucks stores to be a safe space, where their new name was accepted, and they could be recognized as who they are.”
The ad has been recognized by British broadcaster Channel 4, earning the network’s Diversity in Advertising Award, which grants the commercial £1 million ($1.3 million) in airtime.
It first aired in the U.K. on Sunday, and has drawn an enthusiastic response on social media, the Advocate reports.
In addition to creating the ad, Starbucks will also be selling special Mermaid Cookies in stores, with proceeds benefiting Mermaids, a charity that supports transgender and gender-nonconforming youth and their families.
Starbucks aims to raise at least £100,000 for Mermaids’ helpline, which offers emotional support and information to youth and their parents.
“As part of this campaign, we also saw this as an opportunity to leverage our scale to help expand the vital support services needed within the transgender community and their families,” Starbucks said.
Susie Green, CEO of Mermaids, said: “The funds raised through #whatsyourname will allow us to make a meaningful change to our helpline that supports young trans people and their families who are so desperately in need of access to information and reassurance.”
Starbucks has also created a series of “Moving Portraits’ as part of the #whatsyourname campaign, highlighting real people and how they chose their new names.
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