Super Blow mega ads are nothing new, and in recent years, brands pandering to an increasingly progressive base have aired ads that are more and more progressive. Starbucks is the most recent brand to jump on the woke bandwagon with their recent transgender ad, which aired during the big game.
This ad was produced for Starbucks UK, and is designed to promote awareness and acceptance of gender change in young teens. Starbucks’ ad focused on the name used by the main character of the ad – the child’s life is changed when their new name is called out in the store by the barista.
Starbucks takes down names for orders (which many people find annoying), and the brand says that the naming is more than a convenience — it is a sort of welcome to customers. So hopefully, the teen in the commercial gave the correct name at the start, so the barista called out what was on the cup.
“At Starbucks, writing your name on a cup and calling it out is a symbol of our warm welcome,” the UK division of the Seattle-based brand captioned the ad on YouTube. “It’s a small gesture, but it’s symbolic of what we believe in.”
The ad comes alongside a new campaign for transgender customers, entitled #whatsyourname. According to Starbucks, the name campaign is designed to encourage young teens to use a new name (of another, preferred gender) in public.
The ad features a young teen with a buzz cut, who is given a cup with the name “James” after ordering at Starbucks. You can actually give the barista any name you like, so the using of the name provided is not unusual, but the ad showcases earlier instances where the child’s original name “Jemma” is used instead. This is done by others in the child’s life, including her parent. A package delivery person (who uses the name “Jemma”, which is written on a package) and other service people also use the name “Jemma” again, provided by the individual or their family. The barista at Starbucks, though, does not question the name “James” when the teen provides it. (Though Starbucks employees are supposed to use any name provided, without question). The commercial shows this moment as a milestone.
Starbucks created the ad to make the store more welcoming to kids who want to change genders and be recognized with a new name.
“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 company states, adding it hopes the campaign will “address the transgender community’s lack of representation in UK advertising.”
Along with this new commercial, Starbucks is raising at least £100,000 for Mermaids, a UK-based nonprofit for transgendered youth. Additional clips from this campaign include videos of transgender adults sharing how they selected new names, entitled “Moving Portraits”.