How Starbucks used coffee cups to support the trans community | WARC | The Feed
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How Starbucks used coffee cups to support the trans community
LGBTQIA+ Diversity & portrayal in advertising Storytelling
Starbucks, the coffeeshop chain, proved that big corporate brands can successfully take on social issues with its campaign supporting the transgender community in the UK.
Addressing the problem of deadnaming
- Transgender people are often subject to ‘deadnaming’ – that is, when a person’s birth name is used instead of their chosen name.
- For many trans people, Starbucks – which makes a point of writing a guest’s name on their cup – is a place where they can use their chosen name and feel accepted.
- Starbucks leveraged this well-known part of the customer experience as part of its “What’s Your Name?” platform to support trans people.
Stories, social media and cookies
- The brand launched a campaign film that told the story of James, a young trans man who struggled with deadnaming but was able to use his chosen name at Starbucks.
- The campaign was supported by a series of short films on social media that told true stories from the transgender community.
- A special-edition cookie, the proceeds of which went to Mermaids – a charity supporting trans youth – was another core element of the campaign.
Results and learnings
- The campaign won the Channel 4 Diversity in Advertising Award and won Gold in the 2021 APG Creative Strategy Awards.
- The Mermaids cookie sold out within a week and raised over £100,000 for the charity.
- The campaign was met by 98% positive sentiment, demonstrating that focusing on a social cause can reap rewards.
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