Pick of the Week: Starbucks tells moving story of acceptance for the trans community

Ad depicts a young man grappling with the challenging process of transitioning.

The winning film in Channel 4’s annual Diversity in Advertising Award is based on real stories from transgender people who tried out their new names publicly for the first time in a Starbucks. So the brand is a natural fit to celebrate this significant moment in the lives of trans people and shine a light on the challenges of transitioning. Starbucks and Iris depict a young man called James, who is still being mistaken by his "dead name" Jemma, with subtlety and sensitivity. 

This spot is particularly powerful given that the trans community, and LGBT+ people more widely, still face prejudice and, on top of that, misrepresentation in advertising. A YouGov study, commissioned by Channel 4, found that LGBT+ people featured in 3% of TV ads last year, despite making up at least 6% of the population. Only 0.3% of ads featured a transgender person, while the trans community makes up an estimated 1% of the population. 

The moment when James uses his new name at a Starbucks and hears the barista call it out is a moving signal of acceptance – welcoming trans people not only to the coffee chain, but on our screens. Let’s hope more advertisers follow suit. 

Brand Starbucks
Neil Littler, marketing and product director
Title What's your name
Agency Iris
Creatives Eli Vasiliou, Richard Peretti, Giulia Frassine, Anny Heyden and Matt Gray
Director Nicolas Jack Davies
Production company Sweetshop

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